The largest massage franchise in the US, with nearly 1,200 locations and 35,000 employees throughout the nation, is facing hundreds of sexual assault accusations, as well as allegations that Massage Envy franchises dismissed or mishandled many of the sexual misconduct claims.
At least 180 people so far filed sexual assault complaints against Massage Envy’s employees to various investigative agencies. These incidents have alleged to have occurred over a span of 15 years.
Some lawyers of the victims have disclosed that many people have settled their claims, making information about the allegations and out-of-court settlements classified or confidential.
According to information discovered in a recent investigation, Massage Envy supposedly does not always require their franchisees to contact the local police when receiving reports of sexual assault, unless filing such a report is required by local laws. In some instances, the company appears to require internal investigations, but allegedly gives franchisees little guidance on how to conduct them.
In one specific instance, a Massage Envy therapist, James Deiter, was recently sentenced to more than five years in prison. Deiter pleaded guilty to assaulting nine women at a Massage Envy in Pennsylvania throughout 2014 and 2015.
Susan Ingram, one of Deiter’s victims, reported that she waited until after she left the spa to call and complain about the assault. Ingram was not satisfied with the response she received from the company and decided to contact the police. After officers questioned Deiter, he confessed to assaulting nine women—some of whom had already filed complaints to the spa, according to investigation.
Massage Envy released a written statement stating it encourages its franchisees to “support and assist clients who choose” to report such alleged assaults. According to the company, a violation of Massage Envy’s Zero Tolerance Policy by a therapist results in termination. But investigations reveal some franchises allegedly allowed therapists to remain employed, despite complaints of misconduct. Others have discreetly terminated a therapist without reporting their offenses, which could allow therapists to seek employment elsewhere with a clean record.
Ingram states that she believes Deiter would still be working as a massage therapist if she had not called the police.
During the past two decades, the attorneys at Ramsey Law Group have investigated and pursued numerous allegations of sexual misconduct, sexual assault, and rape against massage therapists, teachers, coaches, counselors, employers, and many other professionals. If you or someone you know has experienced a similar situation, call the Sexual Assault Injury Attorneys at Ramsey Law Group today for a free consultation. We will investigate your potential case and advise you accordingly based on your situation.