Numerous accusers have now sued the chain, and subsequent court records reportedly show that multiple women had complained to Massage Envy about Deiter's actions prior to Ingram's report. One California woman also said she was sexually assaulted during a prenatal massage.
Therapists at a nationwide massage chain are facing almost 200 allegations 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".
Former Massage Envy employees court filings say that the company isn't liable for sexual assaults because of the franchising agreements, but attorneys for the victims argue that the company trains the employees and establishes operational policies.
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One alleged incident involves customer Susan Ingram, of West Chester, Penn., who said she was sexually assaulted in May 2015 by massage therapist James Deiter.
"For me, it happened on a Sunday afternoon at a Massage Envy in Richmond, Virginia, in a crowded family shopping center", noted another accuser, via a petition calling the company to change its policies.
Sadly, many other claims surface in Buzzfeed's report, which also touches upon Massage Envy's inability to provide much comment on the allegations for legal reasons. Officers questioned Deiter, who quickly admitted to assaulting the nine women - some of whom had previously complained to the spa, BuzzFeed reports.
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"I've yet to see a valid explanation and I have no reason to doubt the victims' accounts". Lindsey Graham said, "If you can't be in a mall, you shouldn't be in the Senate".
She helped draft federal legislation that would require massage spas to report sexual assault allegations to police.
"Massage Envy is a partner in crime", Ingram said.
Over the past 15 years, Massage Envy has given over 125 million massages, gaining a reputation as one of the most well-known massage parlors around. "That's why we will never stop reinforcing to our franchisees the importance of a safe environment". The article references 180 reported incidents.
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According to the BuzzFeed News report, over 180 women have "filed sexual assault lawsuits, police reports, and state board complaints against Massage Envy spas, their employees, and the national company". "We are constantly listening, learning and evaluating how we can continue to strengthen our policies with respect to handling of these issues". Numerous women cited in the investigation reached out to law enforcement on their own, after they say Massage Envy failed to address their reports of assault.