A mother and daughter have filed a lawsuit in Palm Beach County Circuit Court alleging they were sexually abused by masseuses at the national chain’s Boca Raton storefront.
The May 2017 incident is just one of nearly a dozen separate assaults described in the lawsuit and describes how rampant sexual abuse is at the chain that grew into a national sensation by making massages affordable to regular working people.
The two unidentified women were among 11 who joined in the lawsuit that claims the Arizona-based company put profits ahead of customer safety at its franchises in West Palm Beach, Royal Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville and three locations on Florida’s Gulf coast.
When complaints of inappropriate touching, groping and even rape were brought to the company’s attention, the 163-page lawsuit claims the company concealed it.
Instead of alerting police or a state licensing board, the company’s policies allowed the abuse to continue, reports indicate.
A similar lawsuit against the company was filed this month in California. The suits grew from a November 2017 investigation by BuzzFeed that found 180 women across the country had been molested by Massage Envy therapists.
Each of the cases is unique. In two separate incidents, women said male masseuses fondled their genitals at the chain’s locations on Southern Boulevard in Royal Palm Beach and on Village Boulevard in West Palm Beach. Some of the women were receiving massages to cope with lifelong back pain or other injuries. In many cases, the women didn’t know the names of the massage therapists who assaulted them.
The exception was a woman in Largo who filed a complaint with the Florida Board of Massage Therapy. The board responded by revoking the license of the therapist. It is unclear whether any criminal charges were filed.
Massage Envy policies state that franchisees must conduct their own prompt, fair and thorough investigation of sexual assault. However, the main problem with this policy is that it does not provide much guidance on how to do so and there are very few employees who feel capable of doing their own investigations.
After a sexual assault occurs, filing criminal charges can be first step in bringing this person to justice. A criminal case will not provide financial compensation for what you have had to deal with as a result of the assault, which is where our Florida Sexual Abuse Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help. We can explore your legal options for obtaining compensation for the physical, financial and emotional damages you have suffered.