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Laguna Niguel Man Arrested on Sexual Assault Charges

Crime: Officials say he claimed to use 'sensitive touching' to heal, posing as an acupressurist.

September 19, 2002|MAI TRAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A Laguna Niguel man who posed as an acupressurist was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of sexually assaulting patients, police said.

Shin Higashiura, 55, was arrested at his business on Jasmine Creek Road, Laguna Hills. He was being held without bail at Orange County Jail on suspicion of digitally penetrating a patient through fraud.

Higashiura practiced shinkei, a form of shiatsu that treats illnesses by addressing pressure points.

He is not a licensed acupressurist and has no business permit, said Jim Amormino, spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Amormino said that Higashiura claimed to be able to "heal" patients through "sensitive touching" in the groin area. Some clients signed consent forms allowing him to touch their breasts and genital areas, police said.

Officials began their investigation after a woman complained that she was inappropriately touched during a therapy session.

In a videotape released by the Sheriff's Department, Higashiura was shown treating a woman while his assistant told her that she had a hormone imbalance and, once cured, would attract more men. The assistant has not been charged.

Higashiura was also investigated in Morgan City, La., and in Houston where he claimed in ads to have cured Houston Astros athletes and actress Sally Field. He closed his business in 1999 after the state's health department required him to register, according to Texas records.

Officials said there may be more than 50 victims in Orange County. Anyone with information is asked to call (714) 647-7419.

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