A massage therapist at a Massage Envy location in Scottsdale has been arrested and charged with sexually abusing a customer during a massage at the business. 36-year-old Caleb Cherry faces one felony charge of sexual abuse.
The alleged incident took place on February 15 at the location on Scottsdale Road, near the intersection with Thomas Road. The victim told police that her massage began normally, but that Cherry crossed a line after she turned over onto her back. She says Cherry touched her inappropriately and that he continued to massage her upper thigh even after she told him to stop.
The woman then told Cherry to leave the room and he complied. She told employees at the front desk about what happened and then contacted the police.
According to the police report, Cherry initially claimed the touching was an “accident” but eventually admitted that it was a “spur of the moment decision.” He also allegedly admitted that he knew he would face consequences and lose his massage license.
This latest report of sexual abuse by a Massage Envy employee is one of hundreds made by customers of the nationwide chain. A 2017 investigative report by BuzzFeed News revealed over 180 reports at locations across the country, and this number has only grown since then. There have also been widespread reports of abuse at Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa and smaller massage businesses throughout the country. Many of these victims have begun fighting back by filing lawsuits.
Attorney contributor Kevin Biniazin represents sexual assault survivors in civil lawsuits. He has helped dozens of survivors file lawsuits against Massage Envy for sexual assault by employees. Here are some of Kevin’s thoughts on the legal options available to these survivors:
It is absolutely crucial that massage businesses properly vet their employees and make sure that no untrustworthy people are permitted to work for them. The customers of these businesses are in vulnerable positions during their massages and must be able to trust their massage therapist. But unfortunately, sexual predators are often found in massage businesses, as they use their positions of trust to sexually assault their customers.
In some cases of massage therapist sexual assault, the therapist’s employer shares some of the blame due to negligence. For example, Massage Envy has come under fire for allowing employees accused of sexual misconduct to continue working for the company at other locations. In these cases of negligence, the victims likely have a strong case for a lawsuit.
Are you or a loved one a survivor of massage therapist sexual assault? We understand the difficult emotions you’re struggling with after this traumatic experience. We want to help you find justice. Consider contacting one of our experienced sexual assault survivors attorneys to learn more about your legal options.