Eleven more women accuse dead Florida doctor of criminal and suspicious activity; two sue his business

  • In US
  • 2022-12-07 23:50:19Z
  • By NBC News

Warning: This story contains descriptions of sexual abuse.

Eleven additional women have come forward to accuse a Florida doctor who died by suicide last month of criminal and suspicious activity while he allegedly performed cosmetic procedures, according to the Naples Police Department, and two women have filed lawsuits against the spa where he allegedly carried out the assaults, court records show.

A dozen new police reports, obtained by NBC News through a public records request, provide previously unreported details of the latest accusations against Eric Andrews Salata, 54, who operated the now-shuttered Pura Vida Medical Spa in Naples with his wife, according to an online directory of local businesses.

The newly obtained documents show that the earliest police report, filed as a suspicious incident, dates back to October 2019, and that the most recent reports are from four incidents that allegedly occurred last month. Six of the eleven reports alleging suspicious activity were filed since Salata's death on Nov. 28, when he was found in a ditch with a gun nearby in what the medical examiner ruled a suicide, according to a Collier County sheriff's spokesperson. Salata's arraignment had been set for Dec. 19.

One of those reports describes a rape that allegedly occurred less than three weeks before Salata's arrest, marking the third allegation of rape in addition to the two earlier allegations that led to Salata's Nov. 21 arrest on two counts of sexual battery to a physically helpless person. He bonded out of jail on Nov. 23, according to court records.

One of the women who reported one of the two initial rape allegations that led to Salata's arrest is now suing Pura Vida Medical Spa, court documents show. Another woman who one of the police reports show accused Salata of committing a sex crime is also suing the business, according to court documents.

The voicemail for Pura Vida Medical Spa was full on Wednesday afternoon, and its website and Facebook page were disabled.

Salata's wife, who is named in the lawsuit, did not respond to requests for comment a reporter sent by text, Facebook message and email on Wednesday.

Several others accuse Salata of inappropriate touching and comments, according to the police documents.

A third rape allegation, and two lawsuits

The report describing the third alleged rape - which allegedly occurred on Nov. 5, when Salata was supposed to be performing a fat reduction treatment - states that the woman was on laughing gas during the alleged assault, but alleged that "during the incident she never fully lost consciousness."

Adam Horowitz, a lawyer for one of the victims who also obtained some of the police reports through a public records request, said he suspects that report was classified as a suspicious incident despite its allegation of rape given that it was filed Nov. 29, a day after Salata's death, making it impossible to file criminal charges against him.

A spokesperson for the Naples Police Department did not respond to a question about why that incident was classified as a suspicious incident.

Another report, filed Nov. 23 as a sex crime, describes an incident that allegedly took place in April of this year, when Salata allegedly fondled a then-58-year-old woman's breast and moved a "stress release vibrating device" over her genital region while she was allegedly sedated with laughing gas during a threading procedure meant to focus on her neck and chin. When the victim gained consciousness, she allegedly yelled at Salata to stop, and he allegedly told her she was having a bad dream, according to the report.

After Salata allegedly continued touching her and she allegedly told him to stop a second time, the woman allegedly marched into his wife's office, allegedly "stating that something was not right and she was very upset," according to the report. Salata's wife allegedly "began to console her stating everything is fine," and "the victim never admitted to Dr. Salata's wife what happened," the report states.

The woman left the office a half hour later and "immediately called her family members stating that she was violated during the procedure," according to the report.

"The victim stated that it was so unbelievable and was in a state of shock," the report states.

That woman has filed a lawsuit against Pura Vida Medical Spa, according to a copy of the complaint provided by Horowitz, her lawyer. The suit, filed Dec. 2 in Collier County Circuit Court, is asking for a jury trial and unspecified damages based on one count of alleged negligent supervision and one count of alleged negligence. It alleges that Salata's wife "knew or in the exercise of reasonable care should have known that Dr. Salata was unfit to be alone with its vulnerable female patients." The complaint does not claim that she reported her discomfort to Salata's wife, as the police report does.

In addition to the information contained in the incident report, the complaint notes the woman had been a patient of the spa for "several years," and that Salata allegedly offered her whiskey before a procedure "to help with the pain" during an earlier visit. The complaint also states that, in addition to reporting the alleged assault to her sister right after the visit, she also reported it to a counselor.

Another woman filed a separate lawsuit against the business on Dec. 5, alleging one count of vicarious liability and three different counts of negligence after Salata allegedly raped her while he was supposed to be performing an Oct. 22 skin-tightening procedure, leading to his Nov. 21 arrest. Salata had allegedly given the woman an anti-anxiety drug, laughing gas and alcohol prior to the assault, according to the complaint, which also says Salata's wife "either knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care should have known," of other women's complaints prior to that assault.

Other reports allege inappropriate touching and comments

The rest of the police reports were filed as suspicious incidents that appear to allege inappropriate touching and comments from Salata. Others allege Salata offered patients alcohol and other substances and allege that Salata showed one patient pictures of other patients on his cell phone.

In the earliest report, from October 2019, the victim alleged "she has always requested that [Salata's wife] perform her treatments because she believed Dr. Salata to be 'creepy'," and describes an incident in his wife allegedly administered laughing gas before Salata joined them, allegedly saying he was going to "help the treatment go faster."

"The victim stated that the last thing she remembers from the treatment is Dr. Salata whispering in her ear advising her to tell him if she could feel anything," the report states.

That report also notes the Salatas frequently used an iPad to photograph clients, including inside the treatment room.

A crime scene supplemental report accompanying the incident report for the two victims whose accounts of alleged rape led to Salata's arrest, provided by Horowitz, notes that a police department investigator collected "digital images" from the office for evidence, along with two sheets, a wash cloth and two lab coats that had a "suspicious luminescence, to be tested at a later time in the lab, for the possible presence of bodily fluids or trace evidence."

Three reports of suspicious incidents were filed Nov. 24, three days after Salata's arrest and four days before his death.

One describes a November 2020 incident in which Salata allegedly put a "small, circular vibrating tool" on the woman's genitals during what was supposed to be a fat reduction treatment while she was using laughing gas; after completion of the same treatment on another unspecified date, the woman discussed the possibility of receiving breast reduction surgery, and Salata allegedly told her she would be making a mistake, replying, "why would you mess with the Mona Lisa?" according to the report.

Another describes an incident from January of this year that appears to be from a former employee, who said that, before and while allegedly performing a free body toning treatment after the office had closed, Salata allegedly offered her alcohol, asked her about her relationship status, tried to kiss her and began moaning while possibly touching himself inappropriately. The woman was allegedly on laughing gas during the procedure and told police she never went back to the office, saying she was "deeply disturbed by the encounter."

The third report, filed Nov. 24, describes an October incident in which Salata allegedly offered the woman a pill, laughing gas and alcohol before a skin tightening treatment in which he allegedly tried to move a vibrating device toward her pelvic area.

Another trio of police reports were filed Nov. 30.

One of those alleges that on Nov. 14, Salata repeatedly suggested she take laughing gas during an injection procedure even after she repeatedly declined it, and that at one point Salata allegedly "told her that when he received Ultherapy treatments he would take a Xanax and a shot of tequila to relax him during the procedure." He also told her he did not charge for use of the gas while other offices do, according to the report.

Another report alleges that in May of this year, Salata offered another woman bourbon or whiskey, which she rejected, after she had already taken a Xanax before a skin tightening treatment, and that he allegedly put a massaging device on her genitals before she stopped him. The report states the woman "thought that she had hallucinated it all during the procedure."

'I suspect we'll be receiving more cases'

Horowitz, the lawyer, said his office has received at least five calls regarding claims against Salata, three of which followed his arrest, he said, adding that his office is currently in the process of vetting other claims.

"I suspect we'll be representing more cases," he said.

The Naples Police Department's investigation into Salata is ongoing, according to public information officer Lieutenant Bryan McGinn.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673. The hotline, run by the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), can put you in contact with your local rape crisis center. You can also access RAINN's online chat service at https://www.rainn.org/get-help. Confidential chats are available in English and in Spanish.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com


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