Dozens of women have stepped forward, accusing therapists at Massage Envy locations of committing sexual assault during massage sessions. In civil lawsuits, assault survivors say Massage Envy created a corporate culture in which misconduct was ignored and allowed to continue.
To gain a better understanding of the problem, our experienced sexual abuse attorneys scoured media accounts to find every reported allegation of sexual misconduct leveled against a Massage Envy therapist. The results of our research are shocking.
Businesses that enable sexual assault should - and can - be held accountable.
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Massage Envy is facing a wave of sexual misconduct allegations, as former clients of the massage spa chain step forward to report inappropriate treatment, assault and rape. Dozens of women have chosen to file civil lawsuits, accusing franchise owners and Massage Envy's corporate office of ignoring complaints against massage therapists.
Sexual Assault At Massage Envy: A National Problem
Our attorneys were among the first to take these cases on. In 2015, the attorneys at Laffey, Bucci and Kent, lead sponsors here at Abuse Guardian, filed six lawsuits against a Massage Envy franchise in West Chester, Pennsylvania on behalf of sex assault survivors. We've been following this growing litigation closely ever since.
To help understand the magnitude of this problem, we've developed this resource, a guide to hundreds of reported allegations against Massage Envy therapists. On this page, you'll find a record of media reporting on sexual assault complaints and civil lawsuits from across the country. Broken down by geographic location, we've compiled the details from over 118 distinct accusations.
Assault Allegations & Lawsuits By State
|State||# of Allegations / Lawsuits Against Massage Envy Franchises|
|Wyoming||No Massage Envy locations|
At least nine women in Maricopa County have filed suit against Massage Envy, according to reporters at Fox 10 Phoenix. Two of these alleged assaults occurred within the last three years; both of the accused massage therapists were “stripped of their licenses and arrested.” Both suspects lost their jobs at Massage Envy “immediately,” the report continues. An article for US News & World Report.com provides more detail. The first therapist, a man named Gabriel Lopez who worked at a Massage Envy in Tempe, pleaded guilty to sexual abuse. Loapez had put his mouth on a client's breast during a massage session in 2015, police said. A year later, a therapist from the franchise location in Peoria, Derrick Douglas, was himself charged with sexual abuse.
In Rogers, Arkansas, a massage therapist at Massage Envy named Christopher Hughes was accused of exposing himself to a client mid-session in 2015. The alleged assault, according to Fox 24 News, occurred in January 2015. A subsequent police investigation uncovered four other women who said they were assaulted by Hughes during massages.
At least 18 reports of sex assault at California Massage Envy locations have been published, dating back to 2011.
In a major new lawsuit, the attorneys at AbuseGuardian.com filed suit against Massage Envy, accusing the company of failing to protect unsuspecting customers from dangerous sexual predators. The lawsuit includes the claims of six different women, all of whom claim to have been sexually assaulted by massage therapists at Massage Envy franchise locations in California.
One victim sued the Massage Envy in Rancho Bernardo over an alleged rape occurring in September 2011. The woman's complaint, as NBC San Diego reports, describes how “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 massage therapist had a prior criminal record for felony assault, the suit claimed. Her case was settled in December 2012 for an undisclosed amount.
The City of Elk Grove, home to multiple Massage Envy locations, has seen at least two sexual assault allegations over the last two years. Local NBC-affiliate KCRA describes the accusations. One survivor claimed she was assaulted at the franchise on West Stockton Boulevard in January 2016. A massage therapist "repeatedly touched her inappropriately before saying he wished it wasn't over," reporters continue. The woman says she "reported the therapist to Massage Envy management," but claims the franchise did nothing.
Several months later, a second woman reported an assault, this time involving the Massage Envy on Florin Road. She claims that a "massage therapist exposed himself and inappropriately touched her during an appointment" in October 2016.
A female massage therapist claims that a male coworker assaulted her in November 2013 during a massage session at a franchise location in Menifee. The man was arrested the next day, according to ABC 7. A police report from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department says the man “was not being truthful about the incident.” While law enforcement officers wanted to press charges, the local District Attorney's Office said there was insufficient evidence. The therapist was suspended immediately from his job at Massage Envy, then fired.
The victim filed a civil suit against the franchise's owner and Massage Envy corporate, but her claims against the corporation were subsequently dismissed. The case settled for an undisclosed amount in June 2017.
A former Massage Envy receptionist says she was assaulted during a massage at the company's Glendale branch in 2012. The woman "says she told her manager," CBS Miami reports, "but the therapist kept his job."
In a civil lawsuit that ultimately settled out-of-court, another person accused David Iler, a massage therapist at the Glendale Massage Envy, of assaulting her during a session. Iler "put his hand underneath [her] underwear and started touching [her] sexually," the woman claimed. In a complaint filed in 2014, the client's attorney said the franchisee lied about reporting the incident to police, according to CBS Los Angeles.
Another massage therapist at the Glendale location, Ryan Coombes, was accused of assaulting a 30-year-old woman during a massage session. Her lawsuit, which reached an undisclosed settlement, claimed that the Massage Envy franchise was aware of prior complaints against Coombes but kept him employed.
In 2012, a Massage Envy therapist named Jason Michael Elliot was arrested for assaulting three women during massage sessions, CBS Los Angeles reports. Elliot was subsequently convicted on three counts of sexual assault.
In a civil lawsuit filed in 2011, a woman accused Massage Envy therapist Mark Valenzon of attempted rape, the LA Times reports. A later report from Patch.com says Valenzon was then accused of similar misconduct by a second woman.
At least seven reports of sexual assault have emerged from Massage Envy franchises in Colorado. Six of these alleged assaults were reported by The Denver Channel on November 27, 2017.
In Aurora, massage therapist Victor Contreras was accused of groping a client's genitals at Massage Envy in September 2012.
A Massage Envy therapist in Longmont was arrested in December 2016 on charges of "touching a female client's genitals" during a massage that October, Times-Call reports.
At an undisclosed Massage Envy franchise, a Colorado therapist was said to have committed sexual misconduct during four massages in June 2016, records from the State's Department of Regulatory Agencies show. State records also describe a June 2013 allegation in which a Massage Envy therapist reportedly "kissed 'a client on the lips during a massage therapy session.' " Citing a spokesperson for the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, the Denver Channel says "there is also one additional open case against another therapist for alleged sexual relations with a client at Massage Envy.”
11 Florida women have filed a major new lawsuit against Massage Envy, accusing the company of "systematically and intentionally" concealing sexual abuse complaints from the public. The lawsuit, filed in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, includes the claims of 11 women who say they were sexually assaulted at 9 separate Massage Envy franchise locations:
- Royal Palm Beach
- West Boca
- West Palm Beach
- Fort Lauderdale
- Spanish River
Filed on August 27, 2018, the lawsuit follows on the heels of a similar action, filed in California, in which 6 women from Los Angeles and San Francisco claimed to have been sexually assaulted during massage sessions.
In 2015, a woman sued the Massage Envy in Winter Garden, according to WFTV. one of the franchise's therapists allegedly "reached under [the sheet] and up into [her] vagina."
A Massage Envy therapist in Largo was accused of sexual assault during a massage session in May 2016, ABC Action News says.
ABC Action News continues to describe another allegation of sex assault, this time involving a therapist at a Massage Envy franchise in Brandon.
A woman in Coral Gables says she was assaulted by massage therapist David Egusquiza during a session in March 2017. Egusquiza, who has been charged with sexual battery over the incident, is alleged to have "massaged the woman's thighs [...] then put a finger in her vagina," the Miami Herald writes.
A 29-year-old woman says she was assaulted at a Massage Envy in Clermont on May 19, 2017, the Orlando Sentinel reports. The victim has filed a civil suit against franchise owner, claiming the massage therapist slid his hands under the sheet and "grabbed her breasts."
At least two women have accused Massage Envy therapists in Boca Raton of committing sexual assault during sessions. In one of these cases, CBS 12 says, the therapist pleaded guilty to inappropriately touching a client. Both women are now pursuing civil lawsuits against the franchise.
A woman from New York told police in 2012 that massage therapist Ronald Bruinius, who worked at a Massage Envy in Clearwater, assaulted her during a massage. While local police ultimately dropped the woman's case, Bruinius was later convicted "for assaulting two other women at an unaffiliated massage business he later ran on his own in Seminole," WFLA says. The man is now serving a five-year prison sentence. The victim's civil lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed amount in 2012.
A police report filed on August 3, 2017 implicates a massage therapist at the Massage Envy in Gulf Breeze of committing sexual battery on a female client, according to Gulf Breeze News. The victim, police records show, "was touched inappropriately by the male massage therapist during the last few minutes of the massage."
A lawsuit filed in 2016 accused an employee of the Brickel Massage Envy franchise of "stroking" a female client's vagina during a session in September 2015. As the Miami New Times reports, the lawsuit settled for an undisclosed amount in August 2017.
A woman in Jacksonville says a male therapist at Massage Envy fondled her during a session in 2014, according to Action News Jax. The same therapist, reporters found, had been investigated by the State's Department of Health over similar allegations three years earlier.
A woman in Aventura says a Massage Envy employee "pulled her panties to the side, stuck his fingers in her vagina, grabbed her breasts and tried to kiss her" during a massage session in August 2015, NBC Miami reports. The therapist, David Gonzalez, was charged with sexual battery. The victim filed a civil lawsuit against the franchise in Miami-Dade County in 2015. It settled in June 2017, but was reopened in August.
A lawsuit filed in 2011 accused Massage Envy employee Kamonte McNeill of groping and digitally penetrating a female client in July 2010, according to the Miami New Times. McNeill was sentenced in 2014 to 10 years in prison on a sexual battery charge.
According to a civil lawsuit filed in 2013, "a Massage Envy employee touched a Coral Springs woman’s vagina while she was getting a routine massage,” the Miami New Times reports. The alleged assault was said to have taken place in December 2012. The lawsuit was settled out-of-court. Michael Ster, a therapist at a Massage Envy in Coral Springs, was charged with two counts of sexual battery in 2014. "He touched both of my breasts and my vagina," the victim wrote in her lawsuit against the franchise, "the next thing I knew he was performing oral sex on me."
In July 2017, Massage Envy therapist Brian Sims was "charged with sexual battery after an incident at Massage Envy in Roswell,” according to WSBTV. After investigating, WSBTV turned up evidence of at least seven other allegations of sexual assault against Massage Envy locations in Georgia, including two reported in 2014.
In 2017, three male massage therapists for a Massage Envy in Meridian, Idaho were disciplined by the State’s licensing board, US News & World Report writes. One therapist was penalized for “improper touching and improper draping.” A second man was said to have told a female client in 2016 that she was “beautiful,” had “beautiful feet” and then “asked her to pull down the sheet ‘so he could work on her pecs.’ ” The client complained to the franchise. The board revoked the therapist’s license in May 2017 after he failed to respond to the complaint.
In the wake of multiple sex assault allegations leveled against Illinois Massage Envy locations, the State's Attorney General Lisa Madigan on November 30, 2017 subpoenaed records from three Massage Envy franchise locations, along with the company’s headquarters, to investigate “corporate policies, employee vetting, lawsuits, sexual misconduct complaints.”
A lawsuit, filed in June 2013 and settled in March 2015, accused a massage therapist at a Massage Envy franchise in Chicago of pressing his erect penis against a female client, touching her vagina and kissing her leg, according to the Chicago Tribune.
In a civil suit that settled in 2014, a male client accused Chicago-area Massage Envy therapist Ken Lozado of assaulting him during a session, CBS Local reports.
In April 2017, Massage Envy settled a civil lawsuit filed around an assault alleged to have occurred in May 2013. In her lawsuit, which was resolved for an undisclosed sum, the plaintiff said a male massage therapist at the chain's Naperville location "groped" her during a session, fondling her breasts. The therapist’s massage license was revoked by Illinois' Department of Financial and Professional Regulation in June 2014, the Chicago Tribune reports.
In 2015, a 32-year-old woman sued the Naperville Massage Envy after being allegedly groped by a massage therapist during her session. The victim reported the assault to police, who charged the therapist with battery. He pleaded guilty, according to ABC7 Chicago.
A woman sued the Elmhurst Massage Envy location twice “after she alleged her massage therapist inappropriately touched her and made suggestive comments during a 2014 appointment," the Chicago Tribune says. More reporting is at Patch.com. “In September 2014," reporters at Patch write, "a massage therapist at the Elmhurst Massage Envy location [...] was arrested for battery after police said he touched a client’s crotch." The therapist, Thaddeus Scott-Chew, was found not guilty of committing the assault in 2015.
In August 2016, a female client accused her male massage therapist, who worked at the Massage Envy franchise in Tinley Park, of groping her breasts and groin during a massage session, according the Chicago Tribune. The spa's owner, a company called LCG Massage, says the alleged assault was reported to police, but no charges were filed.
Carlos Eduardo Harris, an employee at a Massage Envy in Bossier City, Louisiana, was charged with sexual battery after allegations emerged from three separate women. After posting bond in February 2017, Harris apparently absconded, KTBS says, writing “it appears Harris has gone into hiding.”
Habtama Gebreselassie, a Massage Envy therapist accused of at least three assaults, worked at a franchise in Maryland before moving to a location in Washington, D.C. One of Gebreselassie's alleged assaults occurred in Maryland, according to lawsuit accusations reported by CNN.
A massage therapist at a Massage Envy in Edina, Minnesota was “charged with sexual assault after one of his clients accused him of touching her under her underwear,” the Star-Tribune reports. The alleged incident took place on September 2, 2017.
There are currently two open investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct against Massage Envy employees in Las Vegas, according to KOLOTV.
In 2013, a 36-year-old massage therapist at a Massage Envy in Warren was charged with sexually assaulting a female client during a massage, NJ.com says. The case ended in a mistrial.
NYPD sources told CBS Local that a Massage Envy on 63rd Street faced two complaints of sexual assault in 2015. One complaint involved a criminal sex act, while the other claimed forcible touching. Neither report resulted in an arrest.
Regulatory officials are investigating “about a dozen” cases of sex assault at North Carolina Massage Envy locations with the past five years, the Charlotte Observer reports.
Charles Wilkins, legal counsel for the N.C. Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy, says, “one of the biggest problems is that establishments like Massage Envy don’t report the actions when their therapists do something inappropriate. They don’t report them anywhere - to the police or licensing boards. We have found that to be true [in North Carolina].”
At least one of the sexual assault claims involves a location in Charlotte . A "therapist was accused of forcing a female coworker to perform oral sex on him during a massage session in her home in fall 2015," the Charlotte Observer says. The therapist’s license has been revoked.
At least two women have accused Massage Envy therapists of assault in Oklahoma City. In one report, a woman said her massage therapist "rubbed his 'erect penis against her arm,' " then coaxed her to masturbate, according to News9. A second woman claims to have been "impregnated" during a massage session.
At least nine women have filed suit against Massage Envy in Oregon.
Eight of the cases involve Benjamin Collura, a 34-year-old, whose massage license is now suspended. “Collura was convicted of four counts of third-degree sex abuse in January” 2017. “Sentenced to two years in prison for sexually abusing a woman at the River’s Edge Hotel and Spa,” KPTV reports. The ninth lawsuit involves an alleged assault at a Massage Envy in Clackamas. The allegation has been leveled against Sean Elder, 35, who was “convicted of two counts of third-degree sex abuse in June” 2017. He surrendered his massage license.
A lawsuit filed against a Massage Envy in Beaverton was settled for an undisclosed amount in 2015. The complaint involves Jeffrey Wing, a former Massage Envy therapist whose license is still active. The Oregon licensing board “put him on six months’ probation in 2003 in a separate sexual misconduct case,” KATU reports.
A Massage Envy therapist, Ryan Haynes, was stripped of his license after being accused of sexual misconduct during sessions in 2012 and 2013. While Haynes was arrested after the reports surfaced, KATU writes, charges were never filed.
Three women have filed suit against a Massage Envy in Bend over allegations of assault involving 39-year-old massage therapist Christopher Rosario. The latest case was filed in October 2017. Rosario “pleaded not guilty to nine six crime charges in the case last year,” according to KATU.
At least nine women have accused Massage Envy therapists in Pennsylvania of sexual misconduct. The majority of these women have now filed lawsuits, including six former Massage Envy clients who are being represented by the attorneys at Laffey, Bucci and Kent, the lead sponsors of AbuseGuardian.com. To learn more about the cases, click here.
A woman reported an alleged assault to a South Carolina Massage Envy in September 2009, Fox Carolina reports. The woman claimed her male therapist “made suggestive comments during the massage, massaged too close to her bare vaginal area and massaged her bare breast.” The therapist’s license was revoked by South Carolina's Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.
A complaint was filed against massage therapist Christian Wells, employed at the Massage Envy franchise in Brentwood, in October 2017, the Daily News Journal reports. According to a report submitted to the State's massage licensing board, Wells allegedly “repeatedly touched a female client’s genital area without her consent during a massage session.” The alleged incident, which occurred on July 19, 2017, was reported to the franchise on the following day. Wells was fired after an internal investigation.
Jamie Alfredo DelaCruz, a therapist at a Houston Massage Envy, was accused of sexually assaulting a woman during a massage in 2015, according to Click2Houston. Criminal charges were filed against DelaCruz.
In another Texas complaint, a woman says Travis Schuler, a Massage Envy therapist in Katy, “touched her inappropriately during a massage.” She was the second woman to accuse Schuler of committing sexual assault, Click2Houston reports.
Former Salt Lake Massage Envy employee Kevin James Rand was charged with four counts of sexual battery, as well as forcible sexual abuse over an alleged assault in May 2016, Fox13Now writes.
Virginia Commonwealth University professor Danielle Dick stepped forward to report an alleged assault involving Daeshawn Bullard, a former therapist at the Massage Envy location in Richmond, Virginia. Dick has now filed against the company, hoping “to get Massage Envy to put policies in place to protect its customers and support individuals who are assaulted,” WRIC reports.
A Massage Envy therapist in Alexandria was charged with sexual battery in June 2016 after a woman accused him of inappropriate conduct during a massage session, WUSA9 says.
A lawsuit filed in September 2017 accuses former Massage Envy therapist Habtamu Gebreselassie of committing at least three sexual assaults during massage sessions. After the latest alleged assault was reported, Gebreselassie was arrested. He has pleaded guilty to charges of second-degree sex abuse and first-degree sex abuse of a client, according to CNN. The man is said to have assaulted women at Massage Envy locations in Washington, D.C. and Maryland.
A massage therapist was charged with sexually assaulting a client at a Fitchburg Massage Envy on December 12, 2016, WKOW reports. The man “ended a sixty-minute massage session by touching her genital area,” the victim says, “then groped her breast.”