Almost 200 Women Claim They Have Been Sexually Abused At Massage Envy

Massage Envy Times Square pop-up. Image via AP

Almost 200 women have accused massage therapists at popular spa chain Massage Envy of sexual assault.

According to a report published by Buzzfeed News on Sunday, scores of former clients have accused Massage Envy's employees of criminal behavior, including unwanted groping, fondling and sexual assault.

Two women spoke to ABC News about their claims at a Pennsylvania and Virginia location where masseurs allegedly sexually assaulted them. I was like, "Oh s-t!'" said one woman who declined to give her name as she left a session at the 63rd Street spa Monday morning. With over 15 years and 125 million massages, even one incident is too many. "I said to her, 'Nicole, he stuck his fingers in my vagina less than an hour ago, '" Ingram said in court, according to BuzzFeed. Ingram will be the first accuser to face Massage Envy Franchising in court this January. More than 100 "reported that massage therapists groped their genitals, groped their breasts, or committed other explicit violations". "She said she could not do that, and she invited me in to talk about my services". BuzzFeed News reports that when authorities went to speak with Deiter later that day, he confessed to not only assaulting her but nine other women, explaining he needed help.

Adam Horowitz, a lawyer who has worked on over twenty cases against Massage Envy, told NBC News that likely the number is higher than 180.

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What one would expect when frequenting a place called Massage Envy: a massage.

According to the report, the chain told Buzzfeed it would not be "appropriate to respond point-by-point" to questions "because of pending litigation" and the confidential documents involved. But that is often created to protect the company - not the victim - said former Massage Envy clinic manager Kate Hardy. "We are constantly listening, learning and looking at how we can do more, including how we support franchised locations with best practices in handling these incidents and supporting their clients".

The exposé also included an agreement requiring franchisees to purchase insurance "that protects them and the national company against at least three sexual assault claims per year".

Many victims say the company's response was insulting.

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