Just answering from a licensed massage therapist (LMT) point of view:
Anyone is able to access records on a massage therapist that has been licensed by the Oregon Board of Massage Therapy. A search is available by name (first/last or both), license number (which must be included in all advertising-including business cards) or location. Just click on "License Verification" in the left hand menu on the following page: http://www.oregon.gov/OBMT/Pages/index.aspx
If the LMT has been disciplined, this information is available to view as well under "Board action" shown with the LMTs license information.
Please note, there are close to 5000 LMTs in the Portland Metro area, so the 21 cases mentioned are but a small percentage & represent a span of over 12 months (one was dated 6/4/2012). This is the reason LMTs are licensed-so unprofessional, unethical & illegal behavior can be reported (this can be done anonymously) & investigated appropriately.
Unfortunately, LMTs are often grouped with sex trade workers/human trafficking groups that offer services that are NOT provided by professional, licensed therapists. So, when news appears about a LMT linked to a sex crime, it gets headlined. Whereas a butcher/baker/candlestick maker would not get as much attention. Sadly, media refuses to understand the strides the profession of massage therapy has made to distance ourselves from the sex industry. I have actually had to add a line to my intake paperwork for clients noting that any comments, jokes, gestures, etc of a sexual nature before or during a session will result in immediate end of the session & reporting (as needed) to the authorities. What other professions (especially healthcare-I bill health insurance carriers) have to use this type of wording in their intake forms?
I AM appreciative that the Oregonian chose to publish the requirements of becoming a therapist in the above link, although many people do not understand a 'board practical'. To become licensed you must go before the state massage board & show your knowledge of anatomy, kinesiology & pathology. An applicant must be able to know at least 90 muscles in the human body-outline their origin, insertion & show the actions of the muscle on another person. They must also be proficient in approximately 60 different pathological conditions & be ready to ask questions that would pertain to a client who presented with said disease. A short massage demo is performed to show communication skills as well as demonstrate proper draping techniques. Oregon is the only state with a board practical exam-our state takes massage therapy seriously.
The Oregonian did not print that in addition to the board practical & written exam, a written law exam administered by the state of Oregon which covers Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) relating to massage therapy is required to be passed (as I recall, I believe you need to reference each law & where it is stated in the ORS & you must answer ALL correctly). So, LMTs understand very well that their conduct is considered public knowledge if the board decides to take action on their license.
Again, it is unfortunate that media continues to inflate the negative side of the profession of massage therapy, rather than promote the positive aspects such as drug free pain relief, stress reduction etc.
The bottom line is, sex sells. If the media chooses to use shaming in their approach it needs to be done across the board with regulated professions & not just targeted at a group that has enough problems trying to establish the fact that their services are NOT sexual.
Thank you for reading. I am happy to answer any other questions you may have about my profession & I always appreciate thoughtful commentary.
Jennifer Stelzer, LMT
OBMT License # 17980