Continue Reading: In the second section of this article, massage therapy sexual assault lawyer Reed Martens discusses filing lawsuits for sexual assaults by massage therapists.
A massage therapist for the University of Kansas athletic department has been charged with a child sex crime and at least six female student-athletes have accused him of inappropriately touching them during massages.
48-year-old Shawn O'Brien was charged with indecent liberties with a child younger than 14 in December 2019 after a girl told a social worker that he had sexually abused her under the guise of giving her a massage in 2013. This led to an internal investigation by the University of Kansas.
Investigators also determined that an athletic trainer was aware of "unwarranted and unwanted touching" by O'Brien but that this trainer did not report these allegations.
O'Brien started providing massage services for the women's basketball team in 2012. He eventually expanded to provide these services for tennis, softball, and soccer players.
He was also the owner of a massage business in Lawrence called Medissage-Kamehameha Massage, LLC.
Attorney contributor Reed Martens has represented several massage therapy sexual assault victims in civil lawsuits. We've asked Reed to share some of his thoughts on the legal rights of these victims:
Massage therapists must be trustworthy people, as there is a high risk of abuse in the massage therapy industry. There have been hundreds of reports of massage therapists sexually assaulting clients throughout the United States, Canada, and other countries. The victims of these heinous crimes have legal rights and deserve justice.
In a massage therapy sexual assault investigation, it's important to ask if the assault could have been prevented. Some of these crimes only happen due to negligence by a third party, such as the massage therapist's employer. For example, a spa could be considered negligent for failing to investigate or report previous complaints of inappropriate touching by a massage therapist.
In cases of negligence, massage therapy sexual assault victims may have grounds for a lawsuit against the business or organization where they were sexually assaulted.
If you've been sexually assaulted by a massage therapist, you can learn more about your legal rights in a free consultation with one of our experienced sexual assault victims lawyers.