One victim, Susan Ingram, is suing Massage Envy, and says that she had seen Deiter several times before he assaulted her. 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.
"Even one incident is too many", the statement said.
Danielle Dick, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, shared her story this morning on the ABC's "Good Morning America" and NBC's "Today" show about a sexual assault at a Massage Envy Spa in Henrico County.
In December 2016, our Madison sister station WKOW-TV reported that a 22-year-old woman accused 33-year-old Christopher Ehrett of sexually assaulting her during a session at a Massage Envy in Fitchburg. The incident took place during her seventh session with a highly-recommended masseur named James Deiter, who was reportedly in his 60s. "I was following the policy of Massage Envy and therefore I thought it was appropriate", the owner said according to BuzzFeed. "She said she could not do that, and she invited me in to talk about my services". More than 180 women have filed claims, ranging from inappropriate touching, groping, and kissing, to forced digital and oral penetration. "Others have quietly fired therapists without reporting their offenses to police or state regulatory boards, allowing the therapists to move on to new professional opportunities with a clean record". Ingram said Deiter also placed his erect penis in her hand and ran it across her body.
But the lawyers representing numerous victims told BuzzFeed News that there are more cases where women reported abuse by massage therapists to police but no arrests were made.
Franchise owners are given little guidance in this regard, BuzzFeed claims, with the exception of a training video called "Behind Closed Doors", which advises therapists to address their guest's concerns "in a safe and secure environment in order to retain them as a valued client and avoid negative attention".
"They don't mandate that all their franchises report incidents of sexual assault to law enforcement", Horowitz said.