Entertaiment

Hundreds of USA massage therapists accused of sexual assault

Hundreds of USA massage therapists accused of sexual assault

The country's largest massage franchise is under fire after reports that more than 180 allegations of sexual assault or sexual misconduct have been mishandled or ignored by Massage Envy franchises nationwide.

According to the Buzzfeed report, several massage therapists were kept on staff despite multiple complaints of inappropriate behavior. The company also says it isn't liable for sexual assaults that take place at the spas because the individual locations are franchisees.

ABC News also reported that another woman is suing for more than $2 million after she says a massage therapist grabbed her head and put his hands over her mouth and assaulted her.

Once Ingram called the cops on her own, Deiter fessed up and eventually pled guilty to molesting nine women.

"Ingram lay there, frozen in fear and disbelief, until the session was over", the report said.

"She said in a very apparently scripted response, 'We invite you in to talk about your services.' And I said, 'No, no, no you don't understand, '" Ingram said.

Massage Envy
Massage Envy

Deiter was sentenced up to 13 years for assaulting Ingram and eight other women, Yahoo Lifestyle reported. Numerous accusers have now sued the chain, and subsequent court records reportedly show that multiple women had complained to Massage Envy about Deiter's actions prior to Ingram's report.

"It should be something that they should train for and have an understanding of how to respond", Ingram said.

As it turned out, two of his other victims had also reported their respective assaults, but the company took no actions because both women, just like Ingram, had made the allegations over the phone while the "official" Massage Envy policy dictates the company can not to do anything until the customers personally came in to report assault. Even if a client calls to report a rape, Massage Envy is not required to contact law enforcement.

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".

"For me, it happened on a Sunday afternoon at a Massage Envy in Richmond, Virginia, in a crowded family shopping center", noted another accuser, via a petition calling the company to change its policies. "We are constantly listening, learning and evaluating how we can continue to strengthen our policies with respect to handling of these issues".

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