BuzzFeed Launches Investigation Into Massage Envy

29 November, 2017, 01:06 | Author: Sherri Guerrero
  • Kevin Spacey presents the award for excellence in television at the BAFTA Los Angeles Britannia Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills Calif

A BuzzFeed investigation revealed that the alleged victims have filed sexual assault lawsuits, police reports, and state board complaints against the individual spas, workers, or the national company, a BuzzFeed.com investigation said.

Massage Envy in a statement referred to the incidents described in the report as "heartbreaking" but said that it isn't liable for assaults taking place at the spas because the individual locations are franchises, meaning there are now no protections in place for customers.

A woman claims David Wilson, of Greenville, acted inappropriately toward her in 2009, according to the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

Still, lawyers for aggrieved spa clients told BuzzFeed News that there are more cases where women report abuse by massage therapists to police but no arrest is made, and that Massage Envy spas sometimes offer a settlement before a suit is filed, leaving no public record.

In a statement released to ABC, Massage Envy said it was "heartbroken" over every incident and that one incident is too many.

News 4 reported one of them in Tennessee earlier this year.

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Christopher Rosario, who worked at the Massage Envy in Bend, is now embroiled in three civil lawsuits and one criminal case related to sex abuse allegations at the massage spa.

"I guess getting any of those services when you're in a room by yourself with someone of the opposite sex or whatever that does cross your mind, but it never occurred to me", Taylor said.

Susan Ingram told BuzzFeed that James Deiter, a massage therapist at a Massage Envy in West Chester, Penn., "ground his erect penis against Ingram's body", groped her breasts and put his fingers in her vagina during a massage in 2015, the report said.

"Massage Envy needs to stop, needs to protect, needs to apologize...and to do the right thing", Ingram said. The therapist who assaulted her was later sentenced to 15 years in prison.

The incidents were reported at franchises nationwide, from California to New Jersey. Another pregnant woman reported opening her eyes to see her therapist sucking on her nipple. The franchisee must also conduct a prompt, fair, and thorough investigation of the allegation, with the assistance of outside experts if needed.

"The current policies are based on consultation with experts - including industry experts, a prosecutor with extensive experience prosecuting crimes of sexual misconduct, as well as current and former law enforcement officials - who say victims of sexual assault should maintain control over the critical decision of whether to report sexual assault to law enforcement". "It's centered around defusing the situation so the client doesn't call the police. It's why we are constantly listening, learning and looking at how we can do more", the company said.

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