Massage Envy Faces Claims of Sexual Misconduct in Massage Sessions

29 November, 2017, 01:07 | Author: Randy Kelley
  • Over 180 Women Have Accused Massage Envy Employees of Sexual Assault

State regulators have received complaints of massage therapists at Massage Envy locations in North Carolina inappropriately touching and sexually assaulting people, according to an attorney for the North Carolina Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy.

"We believe that even one incident is too many", Massage Envy said in a statement, adding that any violation of its zero-tolerance policy by a therapist requires termination.

"I was panicked, I was fearful", said Tara Woodley, describing her initial reaction to an alleged incident in September at a Massage Envy location in Washington, D.C., in which she said a massage therapist put his tongue on her genitals.

"I was really in a state of shock, disbelief, fear", Ingram said. "Groped both of my breasts roughly and aggressively". Another pregnant woman reported opening her eyes to see her therapist sucking on her nipple.

Buzzfeed published the investigation into Massage Envy on Sunday, revealing more than 180 reported sexual assaults at Massage Envy locations across the U.S.

"She said in a very apparently scripted response, 'We invite you in to talk about your services.' And I said, 'No, no, no you don't understand."

The first allegation detailed in the civil lawsuits was reported in October 2015.

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"I think that the descriptions of the sexual assault claims that I heard are really horrific", Baker said.

The therapist she claimed assaulted her is now in prison after pleading guilty to assaulting nine women while employed by Massage Envy, the ABC News story said.

According to BuzzFeed, Massage Envy and its franchisees mishandled or ignored more than 180 cases.

The Scottsdale, Ariz. -based chain operates almost 1,200 locations across the country, including six in the Richmond region. But overall, Melanie Hansen, general counsel of Massage Envy Franchising, said the company has worked hard to create the industry's "most stringent, rigorous policies" for hiring, screening, and training therapists.

Ingram is suing Massage Envy and taking other steps to make sure spa companies do the right thing.

Last month, a Richmond, Virginia woman, who herself was assaulted, started a change.org petition calling on the company to support individuals sexually assaulted at their stores. A lawyer for the Bend franchisee has not returned a call for comment.

An Upper East Side Massage Envy location has had two complaints against it in recent years that the NYPD found to be inconclusive.

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