Recently acquitted massage therapist, 21 year-old Tres Cusatis of Hastings, found not guilty of sexually assaulting a pregnant woman, will soon face a hearing for review of his Nebraska Massage Therapist license.
Jarilyn Obermiller-Spiehs: "We were very happy about the verdict. We knew that Tres wasn't guilty of what she accused him of, so it's good that the court proved that."
On July 11, Cusatis will face a hearing to decide the future status of his Nebraska Massage Therapist license.
Cusatis's license was suspended last August after allegations of a sexual assault were made by a pregnant massage client.
Owners of the massage center where Cusatis was employed at the time of the alleged incident say they aren't certain of Cusatis's plans.
Jarilyn Obermiller-Spiehs: "They are looking at the status of his license, and I haven't talked to Tres to see if he really wants to get his license back, or if that's something he doesn't want to endeavor into again, I'm not sure. We haven't had any communication besides for me to tell him congratulations yesterday, and you know he cried and we hugged and we're just glad it's over."
Cusatis did not reply to a request for comment on his plans, but his in-court admission of a sexual act during a massage will likely be considered during his July 11 license review hearing.
A statement from Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services officials cites state rules and regulations, which define sexual misconduct for massage therapists as "...providing sexual stimulation as part of massage therapy."
Accused of a sexual assault on a pregnant client, 21 year-old massage therapist Tres Cusatis's testimony in his own defense was emotional and tear-filled.
Under oath, Cusatis admitted to penetrating a client's genitalia with his hand last August saying, "At that point, I had a lapse in judgment."
However, Cusatis adamantly maintained that force was never used, and denied covering the alleged victim's mouth at any point - as she had told police.
Hall County prosecution attorney Mark Young challenged Cusatis's credibility, saying that Cusatis had changed his account of the events of the day in question during initial interrogations.
Defense attorney Kevin Knake questioned the accuracy of the accuser's account because of her failure to leave the premises or to call for immediate help on the cellphone she had with her throughout the incident.
Both prosecuting and defending attorneys declined to comment on the verdict, and no one from Empower Life Spa, the massage center where the incident allegedly occurred, was available to discuss the trial's outcome.
Cusatis was visibly relieved in court following the verdict.
VERDICT: NOT GUILTY
Earlier Wednesday: Tres Cusatis Testifies
Cusatis testified that he deviated from professional protocols in the incident.
Cusatis further testified that a coworker was present in the office both before and after the massage with the alleged victim.
Cusatis's testimony was emotional and tear-filled at points, causing a recess to be discussed.
In his closing argument in the prosecution of Tres Cusatis, Hall County prosecution attorney Mark Young asserted that the alleged act needed to be only non-consensual, and that violence was not a necessary factor for first degree sexual assault, nor for attempted first degree sexual assault.
Young challenged Cusatis's credibility, saying that Cusatis had changed his account of the events of the day in question during initial interrogations.
Defense attorney Kevin Knake countered that the alleged victim did not use the cellphone that she had with her to notify police at any time while in the massage center, that she did not make a timely exit by any of three doors available, and that she used a credit or debit card to pay for the massage in a process that took several minutes to complete. Defense attorney Knake questioned the accuracy of the accuser's account because of her failure to leave the premises or report the alleged assault sooner.
The case was submitted to the jury for their deliberation and verdict at 1:55 p.m. at Hall County District Court.
After about 2 hours and 45 minutes of deliberations, the jury found Cusatis Not Guilty.
Tuesday: Witnesses Take the Stand
Witnesses took the stand Tuesday in the jury trial of a former Empower Life Spa massage therapist.
Authorities say 21-year-old Tres Cusatis of Hastings is charged with first degree sexual assault of a pregnant client during a scheduled massage at Empower Life Spa.
That client took the stand Tuesday, as did her mother, who testified that her daughter was "hysterical and hyperventilating" when they spoke shortly after the August 2011 massage appointment.
Cusatis' former coworker testified she did not notice anything out of the ordinary in the building the day of the victim's massage appointment.
Current spa managers testified they spoke to police following Cusatis' arrest, and showed an officer the massage room, but could not provide the sheets used during the massage because they were already in the washing machine.
Managers say they also investigated the spa's appointment records following Cusatis' arrest and noted the victim paid for the massage and left without making any complaints.
When Cusatis' accuser was asked if she entered into any voluntary sexual activity with the defendant she answered "no."
The woman says she's considered filing a lawsuit against the spa, but hasn't yet because her attorney is ill.
The trial is expected to conclude Wednesday.