Massage Envy, the first and by far the largest chain of massage franchises in the country, is a billion-dollar business that promises trustworthy services at an affordable price. But BuzzFeed News found that more than 180 people have filed sexual assault lawsuits, police reports, and state board complaints against Massage Envy spas, their employees, and the national company. Like Susan Ingram, many say their claims were mishandled or ignored by employees and owners of individual Massage Envy spas, and by the national company itself.
It’s one of the most disgusting stories I’ve read in a long while.
* Chicago Tribune…
Four women have filed lawsuits against Massage Envy franchises in Chicago and the suburbs claiming they were sexually assaulted by massage therapists, part of a growing list of women who say they were sexually assaulted by employees at the company’s franchises across the U.S. […]
An attorney for LCG Massage, owner of the Tinley Park Massage Envy franchise, denies the allegations of any sexual touching, according to court documents. The attorney also noted that law enforcement was notified of the woman’s complaint, but no charges were filed against the massage therapist, according to court documents.
The other three women have either settled or voluntarily dismissed their lawsuits, according to a review of court records in Will, Cook and DuPage counties.
In April, a Plainfield woman settled a 20-count lawsuit against Massage Envy, a massage therapist and the franchise manager regarding a May 2013 incident at the Massage Envy at 2775 Showplace Drive in Naperville. The lawsuit sought at least $1 million in damages and court costs. Court documents do not disclose the settlement amount.
* Press release…
Attorney General Lisa Madigan [on November 29] issued subpoenas to the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based franchisor Massage Envy and four of its Illinois-based franchisees as part of an investigation into claims the spa chain failed to handle sexual assault allegations by customers appropriately.
Madigan’s office is investigating Massage Envy and its Illinois franchisees at certain locations in Chicago, Elmhurst, Naperville and Tinley Park following public reports of women alleging they were sexually assaulted by male massage therapists. Through the subpoenas, Madigan is seeking information about the company’s policies, employee training, and handling of complaints related to sexual assault and sexually inappropriate behavior.
“I appreciate the women who have reported the sexual assaults they experienced during their massages,” Madigan said. “I issued subpoenas to Massage Envy because the public has a right to know what Massage Envy’s policies are and what steps the company takes to prevent and address sexual assaults.”
Madigan’s investigation into Massage Envy’s sexual assault policies comes as women around the country are coming forward to report instances of sexual harassment and sexual assault. Earlier this week, an investigation by Buzzfeed News found that more than 180 women throughout the country alleged that they were sexually assaulted during services at Massage Envy spas. Despite multiple lawsuits, police reports and complaints by women, Buzzfeed found that many claims were mishandled, and the company’s policies and procedures for reporting and addressing sexual assault allegations were vague or unclear.
According to its website, Massage Envy has more than 1,170 franchised locations in 49 states that employ approximately 25,000 massage therapists and estheticians that provide massage and skin care services to around 1.65 million members.