According to media reporting on BuzzFeed News, Huffington Post, and local and national news channels this morning, Massage Envy is facing nearly 200 lawsuits all over the country. These lawsuits are alleging that the national chain is responsible for a culture that enabled sexual predators abuse, and assault patrons of the massage spa. The reports identify that Massage Envy in many instances failed to act even after patrons reported the alleged abuse.
Some of the first lawsuits of this type were filed by Laffey Bucci & Kent from AbuseGuardian.com. The firm is representing several plaintiffs who allege abuse occurred at a Westchester PA Massage Envy location. Brian Kent, Esq., one of the attorneys is a contributor to The Legal Herald, and commented that they are “aggressively preparing for trial.”
Want A Consultation With Laffey Bucci & Kent?
The Sex Abuse Victim lawyers at Laffey Bucci & Kent are ready to take your call: (866) 577-2786
Allegations Include Groping & Penetration
So, what is happening? You may be asking. According to the lawsuits filed, and the news reporting by BuzzFeed, the allegations involve:
- Digital Penetration; and
- Oral Penetration
Massage Envy’s response to the reporting stated that it was “heartbreaking. Even one incident is too many.” The representative continued: “That’s why we will never stop reinforcing to our franchisees the importance of a safe environment”.
What Does Massage Envy Say?
The massage chain continues to deny that it has any responsibility for the actions of employees and individual franchises. However, reports show that at least one individual franchise owner is stating that his actions were “following the policy of Massage Envy, and therefore I thought it was appropriate”.
One specific case sheds some light on the policy and lists in its complaint that the Massage Envy employee manual has a clause for dealing with an allegation of sexual misconduct:
“administrator[s] should immediately respond to the guest’s needs and get them to a private room. Let them recover, allow them to explain what happened and document. Do not admit / deny / or make any promise about the allegation other than promise to investigate and take appropriate action.”
With some cases going to trial soon, it will become clearer how the courts interpret that policy and apply it in a determination as to whether Massage Envy has liability.
We will follow the story and report with new information.