Over 180 people in different locations around the United States filed police reports, lawsuits for sexual assault, and other complaints of sexual misconduct against the Massage Envy Spas national company and its employees, shows a report by BuzzFeed News an online news site.
The website said that many of the people filing the complaints believed theirs had been mishandled or had been ignored by owners of individual spas or employees as well as the national company.
Women in the dozens reported both oral and digital penetration. One hundred or more reported that the massage therapists had groped their breasts, genitals, or committed other violations that were explicit.
One attorney, who has handled over 24 sexual misconducts suits that involved Massage Envy, said on Monday he received calls from more than 25 new victims after the publication of the report.
These claims represent just a small fraction of the millions of services that franchises of Massage Envy provided.
Lawyers for clients at the spas said that there existed cases where women had reported abuse by massage therapists to police where arrests were not made with the spas offering to settle prior to the filing of lawsuits, which leaves no public record.
On Monday, a statement was released by Massage Envy that said complaints that were documented in the article had spanned over 15 years, with each account being heartbreaking.
However, the statement by Massage Envy continued by saying the company believes even one incident was too many, so it is constantly learning, evaluating and listening to how the companies policies can be strengthened related to handling these issues.
The general counsel for Massage Envy said the company works hard in creating the most stringent policies in the industry for screening, hiring and training its therapists.
The general counsel added that Massage Envy holds its franchise owners accountable for their policies and when we say there is nothing more important than treating our clients with respect and giving them a professional and safe experience we stand behind it 100%.
Except in certain places where the local laws may demand it, Massage Envy does not compel its franchises to notify local law enforcement to hire investigators to help make a determination as to what happened.
In statements made to the public and court filings Massage Envy has said it was not liable for any sexual assaults that happen in the spas because of the franchise arrangement.
Spas control day to day operations on their own, including determining the best way to conduct an investigation of inappropriate behavior.