With a ruse of performing a massage on a co-worker, a local doctor allegedly sexually assaulted her instead, according to North Las Vegas Police.
Michel Rantissi, who is also accused of a separate lewd act involving the same woman, was arrested Thursday on one count each of sexual assault and open and gross lewdness, police said.
Rantissi, a physical therapist, practices at the Advanced Manual Therapy Institute, which has offices in Summerlin, North Las Vegas and Henderson, according to the company’s website.
His legal team said prosecutors didn't formally file charges during a Tuesday morning court appearance. “We are hopeful that will remain the case,” David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld wrote in a statement. “Dr. Rantissi unequivocally denies he committed a sexual assault.”
Rantissi bailed out Friday on a $150,000 bond, court records indicate.
The victim filed a sexual assault police report on Sept. 16, according to Rantissi’s arrest report.
She said that she approached Rantissi in early September with leg, hip and back pain, according to the report.
On a previous occasion, she said, he’d performed a technique that calls for the practitioner to insert fingers into and around genitalia, police said. There is an “internal” and “external” version of the massage and she’d consented for the internal procedure. “She felt he was completely professional and was being a teacher, showing her the points.”
However, things changed the day of the alleged crime, she said.
He began to touch her genitalia without her consent and after she said “no,” she said. She’d only asked for a massage of her legs.
The victim estimated that after Rantissi ignored her request, he continued to sexually assault her for seven minutes, police said. Four days later, with the guidance of another doctor in the office, the victim filed a complaint with the licensing board, according to the report.
Previously, in August, she said, she’d asked for a massage, but he’d straddled her and “humped her,” police said. She said Rantissi got off her, grabbed his genitalia over his pants and allegedly said, “Look what you did.”
That’s from where the lewdness count originates.
In an interview with investigators, Rantissi said that she’d consented to the pelvic procedure, which he did “to make her feel better because she is single and he is a giver,” according to the report. He added that he felt he was giving “charity to her.”
Admitting to performing the procedure in which the victim accused him of sexual assault, Rantissi noted that he hadn’t gained pleasure from it. According to the arrest report, Rantissi said he stopped after five minutes because the victim didn’t seem to be getting “pleasure from it.”
Asked if what he’d done that day was learned in medical school, Rantissi said no, according to the report. Rantissi has been registered with the Nevada Physical Therapy Board since 2013, online records show.
On Saturday, records did not indicate any disciplinary action against him, however, one of his two licenses has since been suspended.
Rantissi’s employer could not be reached for comment. His legal team said about 100 people, including patients and friends, showed up to the court hearing to show their support.
Anyone with information is asked to call police at 702-633-1769. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555 or crimestoppersofnv.com.