A well-known national massage chain is now the latest public entity under the microscope following accusations of sexual assault.
More than 180 female customers of Massage Envy have accused male massage therapists of groping and penetrating them while on the massage table, BuzzFeed reported, citing lawsuits, police reports and other complaints.
Several of the female accusers have issued complaints to management of Massage Envy – which operates more than 1,200 spas across the country – about the alleged assault that they have experienced. The company does not require its franchises to inform police when accusations of sexual misconduct are made against the company, according to the report.
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. After leaving the spa, she called the Massage Envy location where it occurred to inform them of what had happened. The manager, Nicole, who answered the phone allegedly chose to not intervene in Deiter's ongoing massage of another client after taking the complaint.
Ingram called police and Deiter didn't deny the accusations, eventually pleading guilty to molesting nine women.
“We hold franchise owners accountable to our policies and, when we say nothing is more important to us than treating clients with respect and giving them a safe, professional experience, we mean it,” Massage Envy told BuzzFeed in a statement.