According to Syracuse.com, a massage therapist working at a national spa chain was arrested and charged with two counts of forcible touching after two adult women reported to police that they had been sexually assaulted while receiving massage services. The therapist worked at Massage Envy, located at 103 Towne Dr, Fayetteville, NY 13066.
John S. Rodriguez, 37, is believed to have assaulted multiple clients at the spa and was arrested on Tuesday, March 28, 2023. Tom Newton, a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office, described Rodriguez’s actions as “well beyond what would constitute a typical massage and rose to the level of sexual assault.” The two victims, adult females, reported the incidents to the police.
The case has been turned over to the Sheriff’s Office abused person’s unit, and Rodriguez is not currently being held in the Onondaga County Justice Center. Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact them. Police believe there may be additional victims.
Massage Envy, the national spa chain Rodriguez was working for, has faced dozens of sexual assault claims since 2002. In response, they announced changes to their procedures in 2017, including requiring their franchisees to provide victims with contact information for local law enforcement and a private room to make the necessary calls.
Attorney contributor Laurence Banville, an experienced massage sex abuse attorney licensed in New York, represents victims of sexual assaults in civil lawsuits. In an interview, Laurence provided the following insight on the rights of victims sexually assaulted by a massage therapist.
"Sexual assault in massage parlors is an unconscionable and reprehensible act that must be addressed in order to protect the safety of massage clients. It is the responsibility of massage companies to provide necessary safety precautions, such as background checks on massage therapists, to ensure that massage clients are not subjected to any form of sexual assault."
"When a massage therapist is arrested for sexual assault, the victim should inquire if the abuse was preventable and whether it happened due to negligence by the spa owner. If the company had a history of misconduct but failed to increase its safety precautions, it could be deemed negligent. For victims of massage sex abuse, the law provides a variety of remedies and legal rights. These include the right to seek damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. Victims may also be able to pursue punitive damages, which are intended to punish the wrongdoer for their wrongful conduct. Victims should consult with an experienced massage sex abuse attorney to further explore their rights."