Massage Therapist Accused of Sexually Assaulting At Least 3 Women
Police in Little Rock arrested 39-year-old massage therapist Thomas Brainard Winnie on October 25 for allegedly raping three women over a six-year period while he was working as a massage therapist. Winnie faces three charges of felony rape after a woman contacted police in June and told them that Winnie had sexually assaulted her during a massage. The woman also told investigators that Winnie had texted her several times following the assault, saying that he wanted her to return to his office soon.
While investigating this initial report, detectives discovered two other incidents of Winnie allegedly sexually assaulting women during massage appointments. He was working for Remedy Massage of Little Rock at the time of the first assault and was fired from Massage Envy for inappropriately touching a client in 2016. This was the second allegation of sexual misconduct against Winnie while he was working for Massage Envy.
According to the affidavit, Winnie was also fired from a chiropractor’s office for allegedly rubbing against a woman during a massage.
How Common is Massage Therapist Sexual Assault?
Over the past couple of years, the nationwide problem of massage therapist sexual assault has made headlines across the country. In 2017, BuzzFeed News and other outlets reported that over 180 women have reported being sexually assaulted at Massage Envy clinics in the United States. Many of these victims have taken legal action by suing the company.
Brian Kent’s law firm, Laffey, Bucci & Kent, has helped dozens of survivors of massage therapist sexual assault file lawsuits against massage envy in California, Florida, and New Jersey.
Legal Options For Victims of Massage Therapist Sexual Assault
Brian Kent of AbuseGuardian.com has extensive experience representing the survivors of massage therapist sexual assault. We have asked him for some input into the legal options available to these survivors:
Massage therapy involves a great deal of trust, as clients are often in vulnerable positions during their massage appointments. Unfortunately, some massage therapists are sexual predators who see their positions of trust as opportunities to sexually abuse their customers. When this happens, it’s important for survivors to be aware of their legal rights.
In some cases, massage therapy companies enable sexual abuse through various forms of negligence, such as failing to fire a massage therapist with a history of sexual misconduct complaints or failure to notify law enforcement of such complaints. This means that some massage therapists are permitted to continue working even after sexually abusing clients. When negligence is involved in a case of massage therapist sexual assault, the victim may have ground for a lawsuit against the business.
If you or someone you love has been sexually assaulted by a massage therapist, you can learn more about your legal options by speaking to one of our experienced sexual assault survivors lawyers.