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Unhappy Endings: Massage Envy Employees Implicated in Almost 200 Sexual Assaults

After a long, stressful day, nothing takes the edge off like a nice, relaxing massage, right? That’s what hundreds of women thought when they went to massage chain Massage Envy. But instead of a relaxing massage, they got Harvey Weinsteined and then basically ignored by corporate when they complained.

So what exactly was going on at Massage Envy, a chain massage parlor? Well, Buzzfeed’s exposé gets into all the shocking details.

One Oregon woman said her massage therapist forced his entire fist into her vagina before ejaculating in her face.

Holy s**t! That is not okay! I mean, we’re several levels past not okay here. I was expecting to ease into this story, not skip right into unwanted fisting and facials.

In Florida, a woman said she tried to push away her massage therapist as he licked her vagina.

Still not okay. Probably should have lead with that and then had the fisting, but still… not okay.

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.

Okay, your parts are going to get incidentally touched during a massage, that’s normal. But sucking on a nipple? What is going on in this massage parlor?

Now, massage has a reputation as being a front for prostitution, so maybe you’re thinking “Well, maybe they thought that was their job.” But the entire point of these chain massage parlors is that there’s no sex. Part of the appeal of them is you’re not trying to figure out if the massage comes with a happy ending because it specifically does not. Also, you know, the women told the guys to stop and they didn’t. That’s a pretty big hint.

So what procedures does Massage Envy have in place to protect customers?

The internal review policy “is not in place to protect the client,” said Kate Hardy, who worked on and off as a front desk associate and then clinic manager in Montana from 2014 until June 2017. “It’s in place to protect the company. It’s centered around defusing the situation so the client doesn’t call the police. You don’t want cop cars showing up at your location the next day.”

That’s not great. I assume that they at least take responsibility for these problems and have promised to improve and create a safer environment for customers?

In court filings and in public statements, Massage Envy corporate says it isn’t liable for sexual assaults that take place at the spas because of the nature of the franchise arrangement. Spas control their own day-to-day operations, Hansen said, including figuring out how best to investigate inappropriate conduct.

Okay, so they’re going that way. That’s definitely a way to go.

[Flickr: Nick Webb]

Massage Envy sexual assault cases

Norberto Tinoco – On October 2nd 2022, a woman in Waco visited Massage Envy where Norberto Tinoco allegedly used his fingers to sexually assault her. Tinoco claimed to use a mystical draping technique that wouldn’t have allowed that to happen, but because everyone else lives on earth, Tinoco fessed up.

Gilberto DaSilva – At a Massage Envy in Medford, Gilberto DaSilva is accused of sexually assaulting 2 customers in 3 days. One woman claimed he flung the sheet off her body and moved his hand up her leg until he sexually assaulted her. Two days later, a different woman claims DaSilva raped her and she ran out naked to try to escape. Massage Envy responded, “Massage Envy is committed to promoting a safe environment for members, guests and service providers.”

James Garrett – In December 2020, endurance athlete Christine Schirtzinger, who was a regular at Massage Envy, was getting work on her hip flexors when Garrett got uncomfortably close to her vagina. She sued and he pled guilt to a misdemeanor. Little did everyone know, Garrett also had a felony conviction on his record when he was hired. So Massage Envy is being sued again.

Zachary Alan Sample – Massage Envy masseuse Zachary Sample was arrested after 3 women reported being sexually assaulted by him. Unsurprisingly, Sample is no longer employed there.

Massage Envy employees – It’s not just customers being sexually assaulted and harassed, it’s also Massage Envy employees. Maralee Strickhouser said a 68-year-old therapist at the Massage Envy where she worked would ask her for sex, touch her inappropriately and try to put his arms around her despite many attempts at telling him to stop. She reported the harassment, but management did nothing. Massage Envy wiped the sweat off their brow and said, “Whew. At least it wasn’t a customer this time.” Probably.

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