Women have come forward in droves to accuse massage workers in the United States of sexual assault, according to a report published Sunday.
More than 180 women have accused workers at Massage Envy of sexual assault, at least 100 women claimed that a massage therapist groped or engaged in unwanted sexually explicit behavior with them, according to a report published by BuzzFeed News. The alleged victims claim that the franchise company policy allowed workers to engage in the unwanted sexual behavior.
Massage Envy has over 1,200 locations nationwide with alleged sexual assault in many different locations.
One woman named Susan Ingram told BuzzFeed that massage therapist James Dieter stuck his fingers inside her vagina during her seventh session at a Pennsylvania Massage Envy location. Dieter later pleaded guilty in 2016 to sexually molesting nine women while working at Massage Envy between fall 2014 and spring 2015, reported WFMJ.
Ingram tried to report her incident to Massage Envy, saying that Dieter “stuck his fingers in my vagina less than an hour ago,” and pleaded on the phone for a spa manager to remove Dieter’s female client from the room. The manager refused to end the current spa session and instead she “invited me in to talk about my services,” Ingram claimed. She later brought the case to court.
In order to prevent sexual assault allegations, Massage Envy also requires franchises to buy insurance that protects them and the national company against at least three claims by clients per year.
“Massage Envy is a partner in crime,” Ingram said, due to protecting the alleged sexual predators. One former employee Kate Hardy, who worked on and off as a front desk associate and then clinic manager in Montana from 2014 until June 2017 also said the current policy “is not in place to protect the client.”
Massage Envy is currently reviewing their policies, USA Today reported.
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