News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Grand jury charges spa owner with sex abuse

Mike Boyle of Sisters is facing multiple counts of sex abuse and other charges, after a Deschutes County Grand Jury handed up an indictment on Tuesday, September 7.

District Attorney John Hummel declined to file charges last July against the 60-year-old owner of Hop in the Spa in Sisters, after he was arrested on June 30 by Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Detectives.

At that time, Hummel told The Nugget, “I declined to file criminal charges in this case because I determined the State could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Boyle touched the complaining witness in an area of her body that would constitute a crime.”

On September 8, his office announced that further investigation led to a grand jury indictment.

According to the DA’s office, after the initial alleged victim reported her concerns to the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, additional alleged victims were identified, and investigations were conducted into their allegations. After reviewing the evidence obtained in these new investigations, Hummel presented the matter to a Deschutes County Grand Jury.

On September 7, the grand jury indicted Boyle for the following crimes:

•?13 counts of practice of massage without a license;

•?Two counts of sexual abuse in the first degree (Class B felony);

•?Five counts of sexual abuse in the third degree (Class A misdemeanor);

•?One count of assault in the fourth degree (Class A misdemeanor).

There is a total of 11 victims, all of whom were allegedly victimized while patronizing Hop in the Spa, according to the DA.

“Thanks to the first woman who reported her concerns about Mr. Boyle to law enforcement, Deschutes County Sheriff’s Detectives were able to uncover crimes Mr. Boyle committed against other customers of his business,” Hummel said in a written statement. “Her courageous act in reporting this matter protects potentially hundreds of other women from being touched inappropriately by Mr. Boyle. Our community owes her our thanks.”

In his statement, Hummel reminded the public that Boyle remains innocent until proven guilty.

In an email to The Nugget, Boyle thanked the DA for making that distinction.

“I have never touched a women (sic) inappropriately,” he wrote. “I have two daughters and two granddaughters. The thought of losing their trust is inconceivable.”

Boyle accused deputies of “manufacturing evidence” during the original search that led to his initial arrest.

“It is interesting that the first time they arrested me after weeks of investigation that only found one ‘victim,’ he wrote. “Now 11? What’s the story[?]”

Boyle has said that Hop in the Spa does not offer massage and that Oregon law excludes massage that is not done for compensation.

Jeff Van Laanen is an investigator with the Oregon Board of Massage Therapists who is looking into allegations that Boyle conducted massage without a license, which would be a violation of state rules. He told The Nugget that his investigation into Boyle’s actions at Hop in the Spa, which is separate from the criminal investigation, is ongoing. The Board will decide whether or not Boyle violated its regulations, a decision that will not come at the Board’s September meeting. Van Laanen said that he will review additional statements associated with the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office investigation.

“There are potentially people who have spoken to law enforcement that I haven’t spoken to yet,” he said.

Van Laanen said that he intends to bring a full and complete report to the Board for action in its November 15 meeting. He said that his goal is to be thorough and there is no pressure to act immediately.

“This is an unlicensed practitioner who is currently unlikely to be practicing,” Van Laanen said.

Boyle is due in court on Thursday, September 23, at 9 a.m. He told The Nugget that he will hold a press conference at noon on Friday on the steps of the DA’s office.

 

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