Police in Port Charlotte have arrested a massage therapist after a man told police he was sexually assaulted at Massage Envy at the Shoppes of Port Charlotte. 26-year-old Javarous McNealy was arrested and charged with sexual battery on Wednesday, August 29. The Charlotte County Sherrif's Office says that the incident happened during a massage appointment in April 2018.
The victim says that he fell asleep during the massage and woke up to find McNealy touching his penis, with his scrotum in McNealy's mouth. He immediately told McNealy to leave the room, got dressed, and left.
After he returned to his home, the victim contacted the Charlotte County Sherrif's Office to report the incident. DNA samples were taken from the victim's underwear, and that DNA was later connected to McNealy.
McNealy was arrested on Wednesday and released the next day on bond.
This story is just the latest in a long string of reported sexual assault and misconduct at Massage Envy locations throughout the country. In November 2017, BuzzFeed News released an investigative report in which they found over 180 victims of alleged sexual assault at Massage Envy franchise locations.
This month, attorneys from Philadelphia-based law firm Laffey, Bucci, and Kent filed 3 lawsuits with 20 victims who claim to have been sexually assaulted by massage therapists at Massage Envy locations in California, Florida, and New Jersey.
Unfortunately, it appears that the issued of sexual assault is widespread at Massage Envy. According to attorneys from Laffey, Bucci, and Kent, the company even attempts to cover up these incidents to protect their own image.
Michael Haggard represents victims of sexual assault and other crimes. Here is his perspective on the legal options available to victims of sexual assault at massage facilities:
Sexual predators must be brought to justice. While the criminal justice system handles the arrest and prosecution of these predators, it's also important for victims to consider how third-party negligence may have contributed to a sexual assault. Examples might include an employer allowing a massage therapist with past complaints of sexual misconduct to continue working, or failing to properly report complaints to the police or state massage therapy boards.
When a massage facility is deemed negligent for sexual assault, the victim may be entitled to financial compensation through a lawsuit. These lawsuits also help make sure the enablers of sexual predators are held accountable for their failure to prevent these heinous crimes.
If you or a loved one has been sexually assaulted by a massage therapist, you can learn more about your legal options by speaking with an experienced sexual assault victims lawyer.