Six women have accused Massage Envy of failing to protect their clients from sexual assault in a new lawsuit.
The women claim that the male massage therapists sexually assaulted them before and during their massages in the Bay Area, Sacramento and Southern California. The lawsuit was filed less than a year after an investigation found that more than 180 people filed sexual assault lawsuits against therapists at Massage Envy.
One of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, “Jane Doe #1,” visited a Massage Envy in Burlingame last November and said that her therapist, Brandon James Davis, sexually assaulted her during the massage. She was so traumatized after the incident that she paid for the service and left immediately.
Doe later informed the company’s manager of the assault and was told she would be called in 24 hours. When she received the phone call, she described to manager what happened during her massage. The manager said she would talk to the franchise owner about the incident and they would decide whether or not to tell the police. The owner contacted Doe a couple of days later and told her that Davis denied her allegations and that their stories didn’t match up. The owner said she wasn’t going to fire Davis.
Doe reported the incident to the Burlingame Police Department soon after. They conducted an investigation and found allegations against him involving 12 other victims.
Davis was held on $250,000 bail for six felony counts of sexual battery and seven misdemeanor counts of battery.
“These things will continue to happen until the company is honest with the public about this problem and giving consumers fair warning before they come in, undress, and get naked in a room with a complete stranger,” Doe’s attorney, Bobby Thompson, said.
The other plaintiffs said their massages quickly turned into forced sexual contact.
San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said that the crimes Davis allegedly committed are unforgivable.
“When people are placing their bodies in the hands of a doctor, a dentist, or a masseuse, they’re putting trust in them,” he said. “To violate that trust with over a dozen women, if proven, he can only be described as a true sexual predator in our book.”
Thompson said that Massage Envy is more worried about its brand than protecting their customers.
A spokesperson for Massage Envy released a statement about this new lawsuit:
“While we aren’t able to comment on active litigation, we can tell you that we remain focused on our Commitment to Safety plan, which is further strengthening our existing policies. Safety is and will always be our priority and we will never stop working on it.”