Major US Massage Chain Hit With Sexual Assault Scandal

Major US Massage Chain Hit With Sexual Assault Scandal

More than 180 people have allegedly been sexually assaulted by Massage Envy massage therapists and the franchise did little to assist the victims, a report published by BuzzFeed alleges.

One of the accusers, identified as Susan Ingram, shared the harrowing details of her experience at her local Massage Envy in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

BuzzFeed reports that the women have filed lawsuits, police reports and state board complaints against Massage Envy.

Victims are also accusing managers at some of the company's 1,200 franchises of covering up sex-assault reports and keeping pervy masseurs on the payroll.

BuzzFeed notes most states don't require massage providers to report sexual assault claims, and its look at Massage Envy's policies found the company not only doesn't mandate its franchises do so, but also doesn't offer much direction about what to do at all; most guidance focuses more on avoiding bad PR for the company.

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Ingram said Deiter placed his erect penis in her hand during the massage and ran it over her body.

At a Massage Envy franchise in Maryland, after a 24-year-old therapist touched a woman inappropriately, the customer told the franchise manager about it, NBC Washington reported. The incident took place during her seventh session with a highly-recommended masseur named James Deiter, who was reportedly in his 60s.

Almost 200 women say they were sexually assaulted while visiting Massage Envy locations across the U.S., BuzzFeed News reported on Sunday. A California woman said she opened her eyes during a prenatal massage to find her masseuse with his mouth on her breast. "That's why we will never stop reinforcing to our franchisees the importance of a safe environment". In a statement, it said: "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".

"Even one incident is too many", the statement said. There are more than a thousand locations nationwide.

According to court documents, Ingram was not the first to be assaulted by Deiter-however, when two previous clients also tried reporting their experiences, the spa ignored their allegations, saying they weren't credible because the women refused to return to the spa to discuss their experiences.

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