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NYPD investigates Massage Envy for alleged sex assaults

28 November 2017

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. Several other women also came forward to speak about similar encounters they allegedly had during spa and massage sessions at Massage Envy outlets.

BuzzFeed reported Sunday that more than 180 women have filed police reports, complaints to state boards and lawsuits in civil court over the years against Massage Envy, a franchise that claims almost 1,200 locations across 49 states.

Buzzfeed reported that Massage Envy claimed in court documents that it isn't liable for sexual assaults that happen at its franchised locations.

Massage Envy says any violation of its zero-tolerance policy by a therapist requires termination.

"But a review by BuzzFeed News found the company's policies on reporting improper conduct do more to protect the company brand than to ensure customer complaints are handled appropriately".

Massage Envy
Massage Envy

One of the accusers, identified as Susan Ingram, shared the harrowing details of her experience at her local Massage Envy in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Officers questioned Deiter, who quickly admitted to assaulting the nine women - some of whom had previously complained to the spa, BuzzFeed reports. "I felt broken.", Ingram said in an interview that aired Monday on The Today Show.

"My friend told me because she knew I had a massage here".

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". Still, it said even one incident is too many, reports CBS News' Meg Oliver.

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.

According to the BuzzFeed News report, over 180 women have "filed sexual assault lawsuits, police reports, and state board complaints against Massage Envy spas, their employees, and the national company". The news outlet said massage providers in most states are not legally mandated to report client allegations of sexual assault made in their facilities.

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NYPD investigates Massage Envy for alleged sex assaults