A South Florida woman has become the second person to file a lawsuit against Massage Envy for an alleged sexual assault by one of their employees in 2014. The lawsuit named Sturmex Enterprises as the plaintiff, which is the franchise that owns the spa located at 4360 N. State Rd. 7 in Coral Springs. According to her complaint, the company failed to properly screen employees and internal procedures discouraged spa management from cooperating with law enforcement. The employee, named Gabriel Mata, had a previous incident involving sexual battery against a different client. He was eventually arrested and pleaded guilty to two counts of felony battery.
Unfortunately, this case of sexual assault by a Massage Envy employee against a customer is far from an isolated case. In fact, the company has developed a notorious reputation for negligence and a culture of ignoring victim complaints over the past few years. According to an in-depth investigation by BuzzFeed News in 2017, over 180 women have reported sexual assaults at Massage Envy locations throughout the country. This report also found that many victims believe "that their claims were mishandled or ignored by employees and owners of individual Massage Envy spas."
Surviving a sexual assault is traumatic enough, but this trauma can become even worse when the company responsible for allowing the assault to occur attempts to sweep the heinous crime under the rug. Holding sexual predators criminally accountable is crucial for helping victims find justice, but companies and other entities who enable these predators through negligence must also be held accountable. Filing a lawsuit against these parties can help demand accountability from enablers of sexual predators and help survivors get the support they need.
If a company fails to properly screen employees for a history of sexual abuse or continues to allow employees accused of sexual abuse to work for them, they may be considered negligent and held liable for damages. These are just a couple of common examples of negligence in these cases, but evaluations must be made on a case-by-case basis. An experienced sexual assault survivors lawyer can help you take legal action against the person who hurt you and the entities that allowed it to happen. This not only helps you get justice and support but helps prevent others from being victimized the same way in the future.