An Omaha massage therapist accused of sexually assaulting a number of female customers has struck a plea deal with the State of Nebraska.
Melvin Buffington was set to go to trial on Tuesday for 23 counts of sexual assault, but that won't happen now. All but two of the charges will be dismissed.
Investigators said the victims were on board with the deal because Buffington will plead no contest to two felony attempted first-degree sexual assault charges and the victims will not be needed at trial.
When the massage therapist was arrested in 2018 for sexually assaulting two customers at Oasis Massage and Spa on 132nd and Dodge, investigators had no idea so many victims would eventually come forward.
"These victims were expecting to get a massage, nothing more," Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine told 6 News. "One of the things about this is I really admire the courage of these victims who came forward. They made the reports. They followed through. And, if need be, they would have testified at trial."
The 63-year-old could be sentenced to a maximum of 40 years behind bars. The state believes the deal resolves two issues, the victims get justice and they won't be re-victimized by having to tell their story in an open court.
Buffington's sentencing is set for May 14. He remains in the Douglas County Jail on a $370,000 bail, where he has been for the last 13 months.