Massage Envy accused of sexual assault by more than 180 women

A popular national chain of spas has been accused by more than 180 women of sexual assault, according to a new report.

Female customers at Massage Envy — which runs more than 1,200 spas across the country — have accused massage therapists of groping and penetrating them on the massage table, BuzzFeed reported, citing lawsuits, police reports and other complaints.

In many cases, women who complained to Massage Envy management about an alleged assault said they were stonewalled. In general, the company does not require its franchises to notify law enforcement when an allegation of sexual assault is made, according to the report.

In one egregious case, Susan Ingram, of West Chester, Penn., said she was sexually assaulted in May 2015 by a massage therapist, James Deiter. An hour after the assault, she called the Massage Envy location where it occurred. The manager, Nicole, who answered the phone declined to interrupt Deiter’s ongoing massage of another client.

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High profile sexual assault cases of 2016
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High profile sexual assault cases of 2016

Former Stanford student Brock Turner who was sentenced to six months in county jail for the sexual assault of an unconscious and intoxicated woman is shown in this Santa Clara County Sheriff's booking photo taken January 18, 2015, and received June 7, 2016.

(Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department/Handout)

Alec Cook is pictured in this undated booking photo. The University of Wisconsin-Madison student is accused of sexually assaulting several women.

(Madison Police Department/Handout)

 

Actor and comedian Bill Cosby (C) arrives for a preliminary hearing on sexual assault charges at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania February 2, 2016. Cosby has been charged with the 2004 sexual assault of Andrea Constand, a former women's basketball team manager at Temple University in Philadelphia, Cosby's alma mater.

(REUTERS/Mark Makela)

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“I begged her to stop the massage and get him away from the woman,” Ingram said in court documents. “She said she could not do that, and she invited in to talk about my services...I said to her, ‘Nicole,’ he stuck his fingers in my vagina less than an hour ago.’”

Ingram called cops and Deiter fessed up, eventually pleading guilty to molesting nine women.

“We hold franchise owners accountable to our policies and, when we say nothing is more important to us than treating clients with respect and giving them a safe, professional experience, we mean it,” Massage Envy told BuzzFeed in a statement.

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