Very recently, Massage Envy, a chain of massage spas with nearly 1,200 locations across the country found themselves facing hundreds of sexual assault complaints, with more than 180 alleged victims filing civil lawsuits for sexual assault, police reports or state board complaints. Franchisees of Massage Envy are not required to notify the police of complaints of sexual assault, unless local laws compel those reports, and while the company does require internal investigations, there is little information on how those investigations should be conducted. If you or a loved one have experienced this type of assault, it’s important to contact an experienced massage therapist sexual assault lawyer to learn about what your options are, and how you may be able to help prevent future attacks.
Massage Envy Therapist Sentenced to Five Years in Prison
James Deiter, a Massage Envy massage therapist made the news last year when he was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting nine women at a Massage Envy in Pennsylvania between 2014 and 2015. Susan Ingram, one of Deiter’s victims, called the Massage Envy after her assault to complain. She later called the police, and, when questioned, Deiter admitted assaulting Ingram as well as eight other women. Ingram feels Massage Envy is a “partner in crime,” since they had plenty of opportunities to remove Deiter as a massage therapist, yet chose not to do so.
Many Complaints Filed Against Massage Envy Through the Years
Massage Envy has franchises across the nation, in every state except Wyoming. The franchises employ more than 35,000 “dedicated wellness professionals.” Many of those who have filed complaints of sexual assault at Massage Envy over the years say the company either refused to address their claims of assault, or mishandled them entirely. These complaints were filed over a period of fifteen years. Massage Envy massage therapists provide more than 18 million massages to clients every year. Massage therapists have been accused of “groping” as well as other forms of sexual abuse.
Settlements Offered to Some Complainants to Avoid Public Record of Assaults
Susan Ingram says that James Deiter “lifted up my body, groped both of my breasts roughly and aggressively then…put his hands down to the lower part of my body.” Across the nation, women have accused Massage Envy therapists of assault with “digital and oral penetration.” Lawyers for the alleged victims claim Massage Envy Spas have offered settlements to clients who complained of sexual assault prior to a lawsuit being filed, so there remains no public record of the assault.
Few People Will Report a Massage Sexual Assault
Statistically speaking, only a very small percentage of sexual assault victims will report the assault, therefore while only 180 lawsuits or police reports have been filed, it is likely the problem is much bigger. Women, in particular, tend to feel that they might have done something that caused the assault, therefore they do not report such incidents. The orientation manual for Massage Envy, which discusses client satisfaction, even notes that only about 4 percent of angry or upset customers will report a problem.
A Massage Envy massage therapist in Washington was arrested and charged with sexual abuse a few months ago, however the therapist has maintained his innocence. The Massage Envy incidents of sexual assault may not be as unusual as we would like to believe. In early November, NBC released the results of a month-long Florida investigation regarding how many massage therapists sexually assault female clients.
The investigation initially found three allegations of sexual assault in the state by a licensed massage therapist in 2017, then later uncovered dozens of similar allegations. Massage therapists who are accused of sexual assault tend to simply move on to another massage business, and, according to the report, massage sexual assault occurs across the Sunshine State more often than we might think. If you have suffered a massage sexual assault, it is important that you contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you determine where to go from here. You may need to file criminal charges or a civil case, and having a knowledgeable attorney by your side can make these decisions much, much easier.
Contact Our Denver Sexual Assault Lawyers
If you or someone you love has been a victim of sexual assault, it is important to know that you are not alone. You need an experienced and compassionate Denver sexual assault attorney on your side from the very start. We believe in protecting victims of sexual assault and fighting aggressively to hold their abusers accountable. Contact the Gold Law Firm today for a free consultation at (303) 694-4653.