CYPRESS, Texas (KTRK) -- A Cypress man, who has been banned for the rest of his life from ever legally practicing or teaching massage therapy in the state of Texas again, is on parole for murder.
In 2000, Jimmy Simerskey was sentenced for murder to 25 years in prison for the shooting death of Martie Oscoffie. He was paroled in 2016, and by 2018, he had a license for massage therapy, according to online records. The following year, he had a license to teach it.
Earlier this month, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) handed him a lifetime ban after allegations surfaced that he had sexual contact with clients during sessions.
"TDLR prosecutors sought a lifetime ban based on the seriousness of the allegations; that he (Simerskey) has committed sexual misconduct against more than one client during massage therapy sessions. Clients are especially vulnerable during sessions, and anyone taking advantage of that vulnerability is not a proper fit for the massage therapy industry," TDLR said in a statement.
TDLR does criminal background checks on applicants, but convictions are reviewed on a case-by-case basis, a department spokesperson said. In general, anyone convicted of sexual offenses is automatically ineligible for a license. However, nationwide the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork prohibits anyone with a violent offense from being certified.
"What I do find fascinating are the restrictions on other felons but not on someone convicted of murder," said Andy Kahan, a longtime crime victim advocate of Crime Stoppers of Houston. "For example, if I'm convicted of a sexually-related offense, then I cannot get a license. I cannot be a massage therapist, but if I murder someone, I can."
Simerskey last worked at a chiropractic clinic in Cypress as a contract massage therapist, according to Dr. Walter Hickman, who said he wanted to give a Marine and ex-con an opportunity.
"It didn't' pan out. I immediately terminated him," he said when he heard of the allegations earlier this year.
Simerskey was also fined $15,000. ABC13's repeated attempts to reach him were not successful. He is on parole until 2024.