LOS ANGELES, Calif. (Nov. 28, 2017) — Women who paid for a massage at various Massage Envy spas across the country are alleging they were sexually assaulted.
Indeed, some 180 people have filed lawsuits, police reports, and state board complaints against Massage Envy spas for alleged sexual assault by their employees, according to a report published by Buzzfeed.
The Massage Evny franchise, which has roughly 1,200 spas nationwide and annual sales of $1.3 billion, acknowledges there have been incidents of sexual assault at their franchises. However, the chain store representatives say the incidents took place over a 15-year period and during that time some 125 million messages took place. The company has roughly 1.6 million members who regularly book massages and other services at their facilities.
Victims who have spoken out say they were offered a refund from management at the Massage Envy locations where they were assaulted, but some claim they were told not to file a police report and others say the perpetrator was not fired.
“This is the largest massage franchise in the United States with 20,000 massage therapists,” said James Johnson, a California lawyer who has handled these types of cases. “It’s absolutely irresponsible for management to not better screen its employees or immediately remove them after a complaint.”
James Deiter, a massage therapist at a Massage Envy spa in West Chester, Pennsylvania plead guilty to assaulting nine customers between 2014 and 2015. One victim, Susan Ingram, told police Deiter rubbed his erect penis against her body, touched her breasts and stuck his fingers inside her vagina.
After fleeing the spa in tears, Ingram called the manager and they refused to interrupt Deiter’s massage with another client. Two other women had previously warned the spa about Deiter who touched their private parts, but the management deemed them not credible because the accusations were made on the telephone and not in person. Ingram is one of multiple victims who are suing Massage Envy.
Many questions remain about the company’s training methods, screening of masseuses and how the company handles assault claims. At least one victim alleged she was told not to contact police because Massage Envy would handle her complaint internally.
As a result of numerous complaints by women across the country, Representative Patrick Meehan (R-Penn) introduced HR 1023 Duty to Report Sexual Assault Act to Congress in February, 2017.
The bill would impose criminal penalties on employees or the owner of a massage facility that fails to report crimes of sexual assault to police. The penalties include a fine, a prison term of up to six months, or both.
Additionally, an owner of a massage establishment who fails to publicly display policies and procedures to prevent and respond to sexual assault would be subject to a fine.
Massage Envy’s corporate office issued a statement in response to the allegations when it was made public: “We believe that even ONE incident is too many so we are constantly listening, learning, and evaluating how we can continue to strengthen our policies with respect to handling of these issues.”
Still some victims are fighting back against Massage Envy outside of court with the establishment of a petition on Change.org in an effort to get the company to support sexual assault victims. The woman who created the petition felt the company was not empathetic and did not address the complaint properly.
Help For Sexual Abuse Victims
Attorney James Johnson is an experienced and prominent trial lawyer who advocates for victims who have suffered sexual abuse and or exploitation by perpetrators. Victims should know they may file a civil lawsuit against their abuser outside of the criminal case.
As founder of Johnson Attorneys Group, Mr. Johnson has overseen all types of cases involving negligence and has represented thousands of clients who have suffered emotional and physical abuse as well as helped them obtain compensation for their losses. He is passionate about his work and seeking justice on behalf of the brave men, women, and children he has represented over the years. Call for a free, no obligation consultation at 800-235-6801.
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