Arts&Culture

Massage Envy facing assault allegations

Massage Envy facing assault allegations”

Massage Envy is the largest massage franchise in the United States.

Last month, a Richmond, Virginia woman, who herself was assaulted, started a change.org petition calling on the company to support individuals sexually assaulted at their stores.

A new report by the website, Buzzfeed.com, reports in graphic detail disturbing allegations of sexual assault the massage therapy chain.

The alleged assaults by Massage Envy employees reportedly occurred at locations across the country - the billion-dollar business owns just under 1,200 franchises in the US, with 40 locations in the Bay Area - and the reports range from digital and oral penetration to the groping of breasts and genitals.

"I was following the policy of Massage Envy", the owner said, according to BuzzFeed, "and therefore I thought it was appropriate".

Many victims say the company's response was insulting.

According to an ABC News report, one woman is suing after she said she was assaulted in 2015 at a Massage Envy in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

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"It's terrible to be assaulted when you're in a very vulnerable position, but I think that for some women it's even worse to go and report what happened to you and not have it taken seriously", said BuzzFeed reporter Katie Baker.

She helped draft federal legislation that would require massage spas to report sexual assault allegations to police. I was like, "Oh s-t!'" said one woman who declined to give her name as she left a session at the 63rd Street spa Monday morning.

"Massage Envy is a partner in crime", Ingram told Buzzfeed.

According to a report published on Buzzfeed, the company and its franchisees mishandled or ignored more than 180 sexual misconduct cases nationwide. "That's why we will never stop reinforcing to our franchisees the importance of a safe environment".

The report cites police reports, lawsuits and other officials documents.

Adam Horowitz, a lawyer who has worked on over twenty cases against Massage Envy, told NBC News that likely the number is higher than 180. "But, we believe that even ONE incident is too many, so we are constantly listening, learning, and evaluating how we can continue to strengthen our policies with respect to handling of these issues".

The Post reported at the time that the company said its franchises are required to complete extensive background and reference checks and enforce a zero-tolerance policy.



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