Mon, April 06

Former Cottonwood masseur convicted on three sex offense counts

Aaron Frank Orrico

Aaron Frank Orrico

CAMP VERDE - A jury convicted a Cottonwood man on three counts of felony sex offenses Wednesday in Yavapai County Superior Court, with the charges stemming from the same incidents that led to a civil suit.

Aaron F. Orrico, 49, was arrested in November 2016 after he was accused of inappropriately touching women during massage sessions in Sedona. He was convicted Wednesday of felony sex offenses involving three women, identified in court documents by their initials, for offenses that he committed while giving them professional massages at two different Sedona spas.

The jury convicted Orrico on the fifth day of a trial that had seven days committed on the courtroom calendar of Superior Court Judge Michael Bluff’s Division 7. It was not immediately clear how long the jury deliberated.

After the verdict was announced Wednesday, the “aggravation” jury phase began. No sentencing date was available yet for Orrico.

The criminal case is restricted from public access pursuant to Rule 123 for confidentiality; the public cannot look up the case online without going to a courthouse.

Orrico was sued by two of the women, identified in court documents as M.N. and S.Y. An eight-person Yavapai County Superior Court jury issued a verdict in favor of the two women after a three-day trial in August 2019, and on Sept. 18, awarded almost $5 million in financial damages to them, and in December, he was ordered to pay more than $70,000 in legal costs.

All three women said they filed police reports on the incidents that involved Orrico.

Two of the women say they suffered physical, emotional and psychological trauma after receiving massages from Orrico, 48, at Namti Spa in 2016.

One of the women, identified in court documents as “M.N.,” a Massachusetts resident, said Orrico touched and fondled her during a massage in February 2016. She told him, “No thanks.” His alleged response was to whisper in her ear “I hope I didn’t offend you.” She reported the incident to the spa and to the Sedona Police Department. Orrico denied the allegations.

The second alleged incident happened in June of the same year, when a woman identified as “S.Y.,” an Arizona resident, said he massaged her in inappropriate places. Orrico’s response to her was, according to the suit, was that he “only wanted to make her feel good.”

The woman said she reported the incident to the spa and was told this was the first time anyone had claimed Orrico had engaged in any type of sexual conduct with a client.

The lawsuit said a third woman, who is not a plaintiff and is identified as “P.W.,” also had been inappropriately fondled later that year, in November, while Orrico was working sporadically at another Sedona spa. P.W. was not a plaintiff in the civil suit.

Orrico had his massage license taken away, having only held that since 2014. Orrico was also charged with three counts of sexual assault, all occurring in 2016.

While the Sedona spa where Orrico worked, and its owner, was named in the initial suit, the jury ordered Orrico to pay all the damages.

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