On Wednesday, a former Winchester Wellness Centre massage therapist was sentenced to 9-13 years in prison after being found guilty of sexually assaulting four women during appointments at the business.
A Middlesex Superior Court Jury found 50-year-old Alexander Osher guilty of rape, assault with intent to rape, and two counts of indecent assault and battery on a person over the age of 14.
The Winchester Police Department said that between December 15, 2016 and January 16, 2017, they received several complaints from women who said they had been inappropriately touched during massages by Osher at the Winchester Wellness Centre.
Judge Michael Ricciuti sentenced Osher to 5 to 7 years in state prison for the rape charge, 2 to 4 years on the charge of assault with intent to rape, and 1 year to 1 year and a day on each count of indecent assault and battery. He will spend between 9 and 13 years in prison.
Attorney contributor Kim Dougherty helps survivors of sexual assault find justice in civil cases. She has helped several survivors of assault by massage therapists take legal action against massage companies that failed to keep their customers safe. Here are some of Kim's thoughts on the legal options available to these survivors:
In recent years, the massage therapy industry has been in the midst of a sexual assault scandal. A 2017 investigative report by BuzzFeed News found over 180 reported cases of sexual assault by massage therapists at nationwide chain Massage Envy, and there have been dozens of other reported cases at companies like Hand & Stone Massage and smaller businesses. In many cases, these businesses attempted to cover up the assaults - even allowing accused therapists to work at other chain locations.
Massage therapy clients are in vulnerable positions, and a handful of massage therapists are sexual predators who take advantage of this vulnerability to commit terrible crimes. These predators must be arrested and prosecuted and their victims must get the support they need. The businesses who fail to keep their customers safe must also be held accountable for their negligence. In cases of negligence, the victims and their families may have grounds for a lawsuit against the business.
Are you or a loved one a survivor of sexual assault by a massage therapist? Our experienced sexual assault survivors attorneys want to help you find justice. If you'd like to learn more about your legal options, contact us for a free consultation.