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In a country where nearly 30% of the population has gotten a massage in the past year, it is horrifying to think that anyone would refrain from reporting a sexual assault. But that’s exactly what one woman is alleging – that an entire corporation remained silent even though they knew an employee had been accused of assaulting clients.
The plaintiff, who has chosen to remain anonymous and will be called “June Doe”, detailed her attack in the complaint filed in the Court Of Common Pleas Philadelphia County Civil Trial Division under case number 3385.
She has stated that in May of 2015, she arrived at the Massage Envy located in West Chester, PA. Upon her arrival, she was taken into a room by the massage therapist where she was instructed to remove as much clothing as she was comfortable with taking off and to lie down on the massage table under a sheet. As anyone who has ever received a massage knows, this is standard procedure, and at the time, nothing appeared out of the ordinary.
The plaintiff removed her clothing and did as she was instructed. The therapist returned when she was ready and began the massage.
While she was lying on the table, the therapist unexpectedly moved her hand so that it was touching his erect penis, placed his penis on her head, touched her breasts, and digitally penetrated her. She left the facility and reported the assault to local law enforcement that same day.
What she learned later was more than a little bit shocking. When the police questioned her assailant, he confessed to not only assaulting her but also to assaulting multiple clients. He was arrested and charged with Aggravated Indecent Assault without the Consent of Another. It was then discovered that one of the prior incidents, which occurred in January of 2015, had been reported to employees at Massage Envy.
This complaint alleges that no investigation was done into the assault reported in January of 2015, and that “Rather, inexplicably and at the direction of Spa Dogs, Massage Envy and/or Roark Capital, the offending employee was suspended for one week and allowed to return to full duty with no restrictions concerning his access to female customers.” It is further alleged that “In fact, employee(s) at Massage Envy West Chester unfathomably recommended him to unknowing female customers after they knew he had already sexually assaulted at least one client at that location.”
The plaintiff believes that if the company had reported the previous incidents to the police, as well as the appropriate massage therapist licensing boards, her assault, and the assault of others, never would have occurred.
Not everyone can be a massage therapist. In fact, it is illegal to work as a massage therapist without a license. In order to be licensed, a therapist needs 600 hours of training through a board-approved massage therapy school and must pass an exam. In order to maintain their license, continuing education is required every two years, including 4 hours of ethics. Massage therapists must also obtain CPR certification.
The Pennsylvania State Board of Massage Therapy regulates the requirements for obtaining and maintaining a license. The Board is also in charge of suspending or revoking those licenses.
Whenever a therapist is accused of engaging in improper sexual activity, the Board should be notified by their employer. This way the public can be protected from those who would prey upon them while they are in a vulnerable position.