Wellness Spa (a.k.a. Sunny Spa) in Oak Park has been permanently shut down after being declared a “public nuisance” amid numerous reports of sexual assaults at the spa. Village Manager Cara Pavlicek made this decision after a hearing on December 19, 2019.
The Cook County Sheriff’s Office conducted an investigation and sting operation following several allegations of massage therapists sexually assaulting customers.
In one case, a male employee was arrested for allegedly touching “the sexual or genital areas of a customer while on the premises of the property” in November 2018. That employee was charged with criminal sexual assault and he eventually pleaded guilty to a reduced misdemeanor charge of battery. He was also arrested for giving massages without a license.
Several people have also left Yelp reviews alleging sexual assault by massage therapists at the business.
Two undercover agents with the Cook County Sheriff’s Police also had their towels removed by massage therapists, according to a criminal complaint.
Wellness Spa owner Xue E. Weng was issued two citations for these incidents and paid two $50 fines in July 2019. The spa was also cited for employing a second unlicensed massage therapist.
Attorney contributor Brian Kent is a lawyer for sexual assault at spas. We’ve asked Brian for some of his thoughts on the legal rights of those who have been sexually assaulted by massage therapists:
The massage therapy industry has come under fire in recent years over widespread allegations of employees sexually assaulting customers. There have been hundreds of reported sexual assaults throughout the United States, resulting in numerous arrests and civil lawsuits. Several massage therapy businesses have been sued for allegedly failing to protect their customers from sexual predators.
Massage therapy businesses have a legal duty to protect their customers through preventative measures like background checks. When a massage therapist is accused of sexually assaulting a customer, the allegation must be taken seriously and reported to law enforcement. Many of these cases are preventable and only happen because of negligence by the business. These cases of negligence often result in civil lawsuits from victims.
If you or a loved one has been sexually assaulted by a massage therapist, our team of dedicated sexual assault victims lawyers has the experience, resources, and passion to help you find justice. Learn more about your legal options by contacting us for a free consultation.