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More Than 180 Women Report Being Sexually Assaulted At Massage Envy Locations

Posted by Seth Chazin | Nov 28, 2017 | 0 Comments

Image by Tom Britt - Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
Image by Tom Britt - Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

According to a report published by Buzzfeed on Monday, 27 November 2017, more than 180 women have reported being sexually assaulted at a Massage Envy location.

The business has just under 1,200 franchises in the U.S., and there are 40 Massage Envy locations in the SF Bay Area, including one in El Cerrito and one in Moraga in Contra Costa County as well as one in San Francisco. The reports range from groping of breasts and genitals (Penal Code section 243.4), to oral contact (Penal Code section 288a (b)), and penetration with fingers (Penal Code Section 289). The offenses can carry as much as 8 years or more in state prison and all include lifetime sex offender registration under Penal Code section 290.

The victims also feel that Massage Envy mishandled reports, or ignored them completely. Massage Envy has said that they are not liable for any of the reported assaults, as according to the franchise arrangement, every location is responsible for its own operations. This includes investigating inappropriate conduct complaints. Some believe that there is inadequate training provided to the franchisees, beyond one video, which advises that any concerns be dealt with in a way that avoids negative attention.

Jessica Oglesby was working at a Massage Envy salon, and claims she was assaulted at a Massage Envy location by a fellow co-worker. Her case was settled out of court. Two women from Sacramento have reported being assaulted at two separate Elk Grove locations. The massage therapists involved could be charged with sexual assault, California Penal Code 243.4.

The California Massage Council  is the regulatory body for licensed massage therapists. They have said that victims should report any assault to the police first, and then to the council. However, they only regulate the individual therapist, and not the parent company - in this case, Massage Envy.

Massage Envy has never had to respond in court to any of the victims of sexual assault at one of their spas. This may change as there are several lawsuits filed against individual massage therapists and Massage Envy on a national level, including in Bend, Oregon, Washington DC, Scottsdale, Arizona, and Philadelphia.

Further Reading

SF Gate: Report: Over 180 women reported sexual assault at Massage Envy franchises, NorCal included

Fox 40: Two Sacramento County Women Accuse Massage Envy Therapists, Franchises of Sexual Misconduct

ABC7: SoCal woman tells of alleged sexual assault at Massage Envy

About the Author

Seth Chazin

Seth P. Chazin has aggressively defended clients in thousands of felony and misdemeanor cases for over 25 years. He has extensive experience representing criminal defendants in federal and state court, while handling both state and federal appeals as well.

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