Dozens accuse massage therapists at Massage Envy of sexual misconduct
- Author: Gwendolyn Kim Nov 28, 2017,
Nov 28, 2017, 1:05
"I begged her to stop the massage and get him away from the woman", Ingram said in court documents. Over 180 women claim they were sexually assaulted at the global spa chain, according to a BuzzFeed investigation published Monday.
More than 180 women are accusing therapists at Massage Envy of sexual assault. Dozens of women have alleged digital and oral penetration during massages, according to the report, with over 100 saying massage therapists had "groped their genitals, groped their breasts, or committed other explicit violations".
In court filings and in public statements viewed by BuzzFeed, Massage Envy said it was not liable for incidents of sexual assault taking place at the spas.
In a statement released to ABC, Massage Envy said it was "heartbroken" over every incident and that one incident is too many.
There are 32 Massage Envy locations in MA.
But the lawyers representing numerous victims told BuzzFeed News that there are more cases where women reported abuse by massage therapists to police but no arrests were made.
The piece begins with a graphic account by Susan Ingram, who brought a claim against massage therapist James Deiter after he reportedly "ground his erect penis" against her body before "put [ting] his fingers in and out of her vagina" in 2015. Two women reported sexual assault incidents at a Sacramento franchise, the only Northern California location cited in the investigation.
She helped draft federal legislation that would require massage spas to report sexual assault allegations to police. Even if a client calls to report a rape, Massage Envy is not required to contact law enforcement. "I said to her, 'Nicole, he stuck his fingers in my vagina less than an hour ago.'" Following this, Ingram went to the police who then interviewed Deiter that afternoon. "Others have quietly fired therapists without reporting their offenses to police or state regulatory boards, allowing the therapists to move on to new professional opportunities with a clean record".
According to a report from BuzzFeed News, the women say therapists at the popular chain groped them and committed other sexual acts. "We are constantly listening, learning and evaluating how we can continue to strengthen our policies with respect to handling of these issues".