Six California women have filed a major new lawsuit against Massage Envy, accusing the national massage spa chain of failing to protect them from sexual assault and abuse.
Aug 24, 2018 /prREACH/ -- In a major new lawsuit, six women have sued Massage Envy, a national massage spa chain, saying the franchise operation has enabled sexual abusers to take advantage of unsuspecting women during massage sessions.
Denouncing Massage Envy for having created a “national epidemic” of sexual misconduct, the women allege that they were sexually assaulted at Massage Envy franchise locations in Burlingame, West Covina, Redondo Beach, Beverly Hills, Elk Grove and Studio City.
In order to protect their safety and privacy, the women’s names have not been released. The women are being represented by Brian Kent, Esq., of Philadelphia’s Laffey, Bucci & Kent, LLC, and Bobby Thompson, Esq., of Thompson Law Offices, LLC in Burlingame, California. They are lead sponsors at AbuseGuardian.com.
In their lawsuit, the women accuse Massage Envy, along with individual franchise owners and multiple businesses, of failing to protect massage clients from dangerous sexual predators. They criticize Massage Envy for implementing an “incomprehensible” sexual assault policy, one that does not require franchise owners to report sexual assault complaints to the police.
Instead, the women claim, franchisees are directed to handle reports “in-house,” beyond the watchful eyes of the authorities. Even worse, the women allege, massage therapists who have been accused of sexual assault are allowed to remain in their positions of employment, gaining easy access to unsuspecting women.
All along, Massage Envy worked to protect its public image, forfeiting client safety by failing to implement strong sexual assault policies that would have protected women, the lawsuit claims. In fact, the women say Massage Envy has been lying to the public and customers for years, saying in public that safety is at the core of the organization’s mission. That couldn’t be further from the truth, the women allege.
For evidence, they point to a damning Buzzfeed News report that uncovered evidence of more than 180 sexual assault complaints against Massage Envy therapists across the nation. On a smaller scale, the women note the case of Brandon Davis, a former Massage Envy therapist in Burlingame, California who was recently arrested on charges of sexually assaulting 13 different women.
One of the suit’s plaintiffs says she was raped by Davis during a massage session in 2017, long after the Burlingame franchise owner became aware of Davis’ allegedly sordid history. The five other women in the case describe similar stories, all claiming that Massage Envy failed to protect them from sexual assault. Filed on August 20, 2018, the new lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of California, San Mateo County. It has been registered as case number 18-cv-03706.
About Abuse Guardians Abuse Guardians is an alliance of attorneys who represent victims of sexual assault. Several lawyers are former sex crimes prosecutors who now focus on ensuring victims receive the support and compensation they deserve to heal and recover.