Over 180 women claim sex assault at U.S. massage chain

Locals React to Massage Envy Parlor Sex Assault Allegations

Dozens accuse massage therapists at large franchise of sexual misconduct

180 women and counting have filed complaints or lawsuits against the chain, alleging that they've undergone massage therapy sessions in which they were sexually assaulted.

In its response to the lawsuit, Massage Envy in Rancho Bernardo and Massage Envy Franchising, LLC both denied the woman's allegation.

In a statement, Massage Envy calls the incidents "heartbreaking", adding, "we will never stop reinforcing to our franchisees the importance of a safe environment".

Attorney Charles Wilkins told CBS North Carolina in the last three years, the agency has received "about a dozen" complaints, half of which include allegations of inappropriate touching, sexual comments, contact or assault.

Citing court records, BuzzFeed says, "two of those women had tried to warn the spa about Deiter before Ingram had".

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Christopher Rosario, who worked at the Massage Envy in Bend, is now embroiled in three civil lawsuits and one criminal case related to sex abuse allegations at the massage spa. She says she regrets that she waited a week to call police, which she did because she was too shocked, embarrassed and confused to act quickly.

Over 100 reported that massage therapists groped their genitals, groped their breasts, or committed other explicit violations, such as the California woman who said she opened her eyes during a prenatal massage to find her massage therapist sucking on her nipple.

Ryan Haynes was accused of sexually assaulting a woman at the Springfield Massage Envy in 2012.

The company said the incidents "occurred over a span of 15 plus years and 125 million massages".

"In the few states that do not require licensure or certification, Massage Envy has set a hiring standard for the franchise network that is consistent with the prevailing requirements in other states".

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She reported it to the owners.

"They don't mandate that all their franchises report incidents of sexual assault to law enforcement", he says. "It's centered around defusing the situation so the client doesn't call the police".

"Massage Envy told BuzzFeed News that it would not be "appropriate to respond point-by-point" to questions "because of pending litigation" and the confidential documents involved".

She said she agreed to share her story in hopes of empowering other women to immediately report any incident of sexual assault or unwanted touching. "It's why we are constantly listening, learning and looking at how we can do more", the company said.

Until this year, the state board only had the authority to regulate individuals, not businesses.

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