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EXCLUSIVE
Crime & Courts

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

Police reports NBC News obtained through a public records request provide previously unreported insight into the latest accusations against Eric Andrews Salata, including a third allegation of rape and more allegations of inappropriate touching and comments.

Warning: This story includes descriptions of sexual abuse.

Eleven more women have come forward to accuse a Florida doctor who died by suicide last month of criminal and suspicious activity while he performed cosmetic procedures, according to the Naples Police Department, and two women have sued the spa where he is alleged to have 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 about 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, date to October 2019 and that the most recent reports are from four incidents alleged to have occurred last month. Six of the 11 reports alleging suspicious activity were filed since Salata died Nov. 28, when he was found in a ditch with a gun nearby in what the medical examiner ruled a suicide, a Collier County sheriff’s spokesperson said. Salata’s arraignment had been set for Dec. 19.

One of the reports describes a rape alleged to have 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 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 Wednesday afternoon, and its website and Facebook page had been disabled.

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

Several other people 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 is alleged to have occurred Nov. 5, when Salata was supposed to be performing a fat reduction treatment — says the woman was on laughing gas during the alleged assault, but it 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 the report was classified as a suspicious incident despite its allegation of rape given that it was filed Nov. 29, a day after Salata died, making it impossible to file criminal charges against him.

A Naples police spokesperson did not respond to a question about why the report was classified as a suspicious incident.

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

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

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 says.

That woman has sued 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, asks for a jury trial and unspecified damages based on one count of negligent supervision and one count of 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 in the incident report, the complaint says that the woman had been a patient of the spa for "several years" and alleges that Salata offered her whiskey before a procedure "to help with the pain" during an earlier visit. The complaint also says that, in addition to reporting the alleged assault to her sister right after the visit, she also reported it to a counselor.

Another woman separately sued the business Monday, alleging one count of vicarious liability and three different counts of negligence and accusing Salata of raping her while he was supposed to be performing an Oct. 22 skin-tightening procedure, leading to his Nov. 21 arrest. Salata is alleged to have given the woman an anti-anxiety drug, laughing gas and alcohol before 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 before 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 by Salata. Others allege that Salata offered patients alcohol and other substances and that Salata showed one patient pictures of other patients on his cellphone.

In the earliest report, from October 2019, the victim alleged that “she has always requested that [Salata’s wife] perform her treatments because she believed Dr. Salata to be ‘creepy’,” and it alleges that his wife administered laughing gas before Salata joined them, 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 says.

That report also says the Salatas frequently used an iPad to photograph clients, some of them inside the treatment room.

A crime scene supplemental report accompanying the incident report for the two victims whose allegations of rape led to Salata's arrest, provided by Horowitz, says a police department investigator collected "digital images" from the office for evidence, along with two sheets, a washcloth 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 alleges an incident in November 2020 in which Salata 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 getting breast reduction surgery, and Salata is alleged to have 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 alleged that, before and while he was performing a free body toning treatment after the office had closed, Salata offered her alcohol, asked her about her relationship status, tried to kiss her and began moaning while possibly touching himself inappropriately. The woman is alleged to have been on laughing gas during the procedure, and she told police she never went back to the office, saying she was "deeply disturbed by the encounter."

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

Another trio of police reports were filed Nov. 30.

One of them 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 "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 put a massaging device on her genitals before she stopped him. The report says 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 about claims against Salata, three of which followed his arrest, he said, adding that his office is vetting other claims.

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

The police investigation continues, said Lt. Bryan McGinn, a spokesman.

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.