Home BUSINESS NEWS Massage therapists at large franchise accused of sexual misconduct

Massage therapists at large franchise accused of sexual misconduct


Dozens of people have accused massage therapists of sexual misconduct at the largest massage franchise in the United States, according to a BuzzFeed report published Sunday.

Citing lawsuits, police reports and other official documents, the news site said the company, Massage Envy, and its franchisees had mishandled or ignored many of more than 180 cases.

NBC News has not confirmed all of the allegations.

At a franchise outside Philadelphia, a former therapist in his 60s, James Deiter, pleaded guilty last year to three counts of aggravated indecent assault and six counts of incident assault against nine women, according to court documents obtained by NBC News.

One victim, Susan Ingram, who is suing Massage Envy, said she had seen Deiter several times before he assaulted her.

Ingram said Deiter placed his erect penis in her hand during the massage and ran it over her body.

“I remember thinking at the time, that this turned so evil so fast,” Ingram said.

After leaving the facility, Ingram called the Massage Envy location and begged a manager to intervene, but said she couldn’t get the manager to take her seriously. That’s when Ingram reported the attack to police. Deiter was arrested and sentenced in May 2016.

Image: James Deiter

James Deiter in 2015.