Hundreds of United States massage therapists accused of sexual assault


In a statement Sunday, Massage Envy - which has more than 1,100 franchises in 49 states, according to the company's website - said the incidents described in the report were "heartbreaking for us and for the franchisees that operate Massage Envy locations".

A Buzzfeed investigation revealed how more than 180 women have reported being sexually assaulted by massage therapists at national franchise Massage Envy.

Accuser Susan Ingram told CBS News that she was groped "roughly and aggressively" by her masseur in a 2015 visit to Massage Envy.

According to the company, their therapists have done approximately 125 million massages in the past 15 years.

Massage Envy has over 1,200 locations nationwide with alleged sexual assault in many different locations.

In a statement released to ABC, Massage Envy said it was "heartbroken" over every incident and that one incident is too many. After driving home sobbing, she called the spa to report the sexual assault.

There is one Massage Envy location in the Quad Cities metro area, on Elmore Avenue in Davenport.

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Ingram said she called the Massage Envy manager and was only given a "very apparently scripted response" inviting her to come in and talk about the service. Officers questioned Deiter, who quickly admitted to assaulting the nine women - some of whom had previously complained to the spa, BuzzFeed reports.

But the lawyers representing numerous victims told BuzzFeed News that there are more cases where women reported abuse by massage therapists to police but no arrests were made.

"I think that some sort of serious audit needs to happen of the company and their protocol needs to be immensely changed", she said.

"It should be something that they should train for and have an understanding of how to respond". Some locations continue to keep abusers on staff, while others have quietly fired accused therapists without reporting them to police, allowing them to move on in their careers without repercussions.

As for Ingram, she is suing Massage Envy and taking other steps to make sure spa companies do the right thing. "I begged her to stop the massage and get him away from the woman", Ingram said in court documents.

Adam Horowitz, a lawyer who has worked on two dozen cases against Massage Envy, said the actual number of assaults is likely considerably higher.