Massage Envy Therapists Face Sexual Assault Allegations From Over 180 Women

Massage Envy, the nation's largest massage franchise, says it is planning to "strengthen" its policies after more than 180 women have come forward with accusations of sexual assault against the company's massage therapists and managers. Customers of "Massage Envy" say they were assaulted by massage therapists. He pleaded guilty and admitted to assaulting nine more women, "I need help", he told police.

In court filings and in public statements viewed by BuzzFeed, Massage Envy said it was not liable for incidents of sexual assault taking place at the spas. She says the manager wouldn't take her seriously, so she reported the assault to the police.

Massage Envy's more than 20,000 massage therapists provide 50,000 massages a day, 1.5 million a month and 18 million a year, according to the company.

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"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 BuzzFeed report recalled similar cases in other states in which women accused their Massage Envy therapists of assault with digital and oral penetration, among other things.

She told CBS News that she was groped "roughly and aggressively" by Deiter, noting that she was "really in a state of shock, disbelief, fear". The assaults happened at a franchise outside Philadelphia. But according to BuzzFeed most sexual misconduct allegations have been ignored, while the employees in question have been able to keep their jobs.

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Massage Envy, a billion dollar franchise with more than 1,100 franchises in 49 states and more than 20,000 employees, released a statement to address the allegations. Over 100 reported that massage therapists groped their genitals, groped their breasts, or committed other explicit violations, such as the California woman who said she opened her eyes during a prenatal massage to find her massage therapist sucking on her nipple.

"I was following the policy of Massage Envy", the owner later said to a judge.

Franchise owners are given little guidance in this regard, BuzzFeed claims, with the exception of a training video called "Behind Closed Doors", which advises therapists to address their guest's concerns "in a safe and secure environment in order to retain them as a valued client and avoid negative attention". "We are constantly listening, learning and looking at how we can do more, including how we support franchised locations with best practices in handling these incidents and supporting their clients".

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  • Theresa Obrien