By Perry Smith
Signal Managing Editor
After news reports detailing sexual assault allegations against a Newhall massage therapist on Sept. 2, a half-dozen additional victims have come forward, according to sheriff’s investigators.
The allegations thus far have involved women who are also Santa Clarita Valley residents who claimed Jorge Panama, 56, assaulted them where he worked, at “Massage Plus Healing” on the 22000 block of Lyons Avenue, according to sheriff’s officials.
The incidents are suspected to have taken place over several years, according to Sgt. Brian Hudson of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Special Victims Unit, noting one of the alleged victims came forward after the news reports of the previous allegations.
Detectives now believe they have spoken with eight victims, and the additional accusations have been presented to the District Attorney’s Office for consideration of charges. Prosecutors have yet to confirm whether additional charges have been filed as of this story’s publication.
Panama was initially arrested on suspicion of an April 2021 allegation involving a former client, who was Panama’s second client to allege an assault.
“Over the course of these massages, he would sexually assault the victim, telling them that (the alleged assaults) would help them relax,” Hudson said, adding one of the now eight separate victims alleged forced intercourse.
That incident was Panama’s second arrest regarding this type of allegation.
Panama was arrested in October 2018, shortly after a call was made to the SCV Sheriff’s Station to the “Stretch Therapeutic Healing Spa,” which was located at the same address in Santa Clarita as “Massage Plus Healing.”
“At approximately 4 p.m., the victim, a female adult, was receiving a massage from the suspect at Stretch Therapeutic Healing,” said Hudson at the time of the 2018 incident. “The victim told deputies that during the massage, the suspect sexually assaulted her.”
After deputies carried out an on-scene investigation, they arrested the suspect, who was still at the location on Lyons Avenue, between Arcadia Street and Newhall Avenue. In the 2018 incident, charges were not filed by L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey due to insufficient evidence, according to detectives.
Anyone with information about this incident can contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Special Victims Bureau toll-free tip line at 877-710-5273 or by email at [email protected]. If you prefer to provide information anonymously, you may call “Crime Stoppers” by dialing (800) 222-TIPS (8477), or use your smartphone by downloading the “P3 Tips” Mobile APP or “P3 Mobile” for the hearing impaired on Google play or the App Store, or by using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org.