undergroundnewsroom.com April 22, 2018

They went for a massage. They were sexually assaulted instead, report says

29 November 2017, 01:05 | Jenny Fowler

In many cases women who complained to Massage Envy management about an alleged assault said they were stonewalled

In many cases women who complained to Massage Envy management about an alleged assault said they were stonewalled

Women have come forward in droves to accuse massage workers in the United States of sexual assault, according to a report published Sunday.

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.

The therapist she claimed assaulted her is now in prison after pleading guilty to assaulting nine women while employed by Massage Envy, the ABC News story said.

Prior to Ingram's civil lawsuit, Massage Envy never had to respond to a customer in court concerning allegations of sexual assault.

In September, a massage therapist at a Massage Envy in Washington, D.C., was arrested and charged with first-degree sexual abuse after a client reported an alleged sexual assault.

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. The manager refused to end the current spa session and instead she "invited me in to talk about my services", Ingram claimed.

Meanwhile, therapists accused of sexual misconduct are remaining at Massage Envy or being quietly fired without being reported to professional regulatory boards, which means they can easily go on to another spa with a sparkling clean record. She said it occurred at a Massage Envy in Coral Springs.

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According to her lawsuit, she had fallen asleep on the massage table and awoke when the therapist grabbed her legs, pulled her to the edge of the table, and raped her.

The West Chester District Attorney's Office says there have been no other sexual assault allegations at this location.

Too disturbed to report the assault immediately, she called the manager after she got home.

The incidents were reported at franchises nationwide, from California to New Jersey.

In a statement Monday, Massage Envy said the complaints spanned a 15-year period, but that each account was unacceptable. "It's why 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", the company said. Instead, franchise owners are given vague instructions to conduct their own investigation.

Ingram told CBS News that she felt the response sounded nearly "scripted" in its impersonal nature.

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