A Massage Envy Washington, D.C., location was home to a recent sexual assault that has left clients of the chain feeling disturbed. Though Massage Envy salons are ubiquitous across the United States, this assault may be tarnishing the chain’s reputation.
The gist of what happened is this: a woman was sexually assaulted while receiving a massage—and it wasn’t the masseur’s first time violating his clients. Essentially, this is one Massage Envy Washington, D.C., residents are probably hoping will shut down, or at least not have occurrences like this.
According to the woman who filed the Massage Envy Lawsuit (who is going simply by “Jane Doe” to preserve anonymity), she was nearing the end of her 90-minute massage when something horrendous took place. Her masseur, a 27-year-old man named Habtamu Gebreselassie, covered her eyes with an eye pillow before removing the sheet that covered her lower body. Without invitation or permission, the masseur placed his face between the client’s legs and licked her vagina.
Jane Doe was shocked by what had happened but quickly covered herself with the sheet again before telling the masseur to leave. He pleaded with her not to tell anyone, but shortly after, she was then taken to a hospital, where the hospital staff administered a rape kit. She also received medicine that would help combat sexually transmitted infections, if any had been passed to her.
Not the First Offense
Strangely, this wasn’t the first time Gebreselassie had reportedly assaulted his massage clients. It wasn’t even the first time he had assaulted someone in a Washington, D.C., Massage Envy store. Many sources are reporting that he had assaulted women at least three other times.
Two of those instances took place at other Massage Envy locations. One was in Maryland, and another one in Tenleytown. A third instance took place at another massage parlor in Washington, D.C., that is unaffiliated with the Massage Envy chain.
Arrest and Lawsuit
Police arrested Habtamu Gebreselassie for his actions. The law firm of Cohen and Cohen is representing Jane Doe, who is suing for $25 million in damages. The attorneys believe that Massage Envy knew of the masseur’s previous actions in Maryland and the other D.C. shop and simply transferred him to a different location.
“Why not fire him?” questioned one of Jane Doe’s lawyers, Kim Brooks-Rodney. “Why put him in a position where he can sexually assault someone else?”
News sources have reached out to Massage Envy’s corporate headquarters to hear their side of the story. However, the chain has declined to issue any statement.
There’s no such thing as a Massage Envy Washington, D.C. residents can trust now. For that matter, people across the nation may be questioning how safe they are with their masseuses.
Wayne Cohen, another lawyer for Ms. Doe, hopes this turn of events will encourage Massage Envy to put in place stricter regulations for hiring masseuses. “It is our hope that through the filing of this case, no other woman will be subjected to this type of terrible sexual assault at a Massage Envy location,” he said. “It is imperative that the company, in all approximately 1,200 locations, implement proper screening, training, and supervision of its employees and contractors.”
Still, when considering going to a Massage Envy Washington, D.C. residents will think again.