In the midst of sexual assault allegations embroiling the nation from Hollywood to Capitol Hill, more than 180 women have just come forward with allegations of being sexually assaulted at Massage Envy spas, according to a report published by BuzzFeed News this week. But overall, Melanie Hansen, general counsel of Massage Envy Franchising, said the company has worked hard to create the industry's "most stringent, rigorous policies" for hiring, screening, and training therapists. She helped draft federal legislation that would require massage spas to report sexual assault allegations to police.
In Minnesota, KARE 11 found at least one incident where a victim said she was sexually assaulted at a Massage Envy in Edina in September of 2017. More than 180 women have filed claims, ranging from inappropriate touching, groping, and kissing, to forced digital and oral penetration.
An attorney for the therapist was not available for comment on the allegations.
Danielle Kendall said she was assaulted by her massage therapist in February 2016 at Adoro Day Spa in Smyrna. "Sit in your vehicle. It's centered around defusing the situation so the client doesn't call the police", one former manager explained.
She said that because she waited to call police, there was no DNA evidence to support her rape claim, and police advised her that prosecutors would not file criminal charges against the massage therapist. "Unfortunately, the temptation of having little or no clothes on in a dark room, for a man that is of questionable character, that might be too much of a temptation for him".
In most of the cases, he said the board revoked the therapists' licenses and levied the maximum fine of $1,000. It is unclear if that revocation was related to the alleged rape.
"Each of these incidents are heartbreaking for us and for the franchisees that operate Massage Envy locations".
After five years, Kandice Martellaro says she can't shake the anger over what happened to her at Massage Envy and how it was handled.
"These claims represent only a sliver of the tens of millions of services Massage Envy says its franchises have provided".
Massage Envy released a statement and said the company is "looking at how we can do more" to better handle reported assaults.
Susan Ingram told BuzzFeed that James Deiter, a massage therapist at a Massage Envy in West Chester, Penn., "ground his erect penis against Ingram's body", groped her breasts and put his fingers in her vagina during a massage in 2015, the report said.