In the last few years, there has been a steep rise in the number of massage therapy businesses. These spas or wellness centers offer monthly memberships which require the client to pay a certain dollar amount per month in exchange for a monthly service such as a massage. Costs are commonly low. Clients often pay between $30 and $50 per month, depending on the spa’s location. These arrangements often result in a high-volume business.
Sexual Assaults by Massage Therapists
There have been multiple reports around the country of massage therapists sexually assaulting clients during a massage. Many of these reports involve monthly membership spas. Cases have been reported in Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and New York.
Why Spa Memberships Can Facilitate a Culture of Sex Assault
Spa memberships may facilitate sexual assault because of the high-volume nature of these arrangements. Massage therapists employed by these spa membership businesses are often paid very little, sometimes $10 to $15 per hour. This tends to result in poor quality. Quality massage therapists usually work for $25+ per hour.
These hourly pay issues can create situations where a spa business attempts to sweep allegations of sexual assault under the rug. The business seeks to protect itself and its profits, rather than face a criminal investigation and negative media attention. This is true of national chain spas and local spas.
The Corporate/Business Culture
The business may address the conduct with the massage therapist employee, but oftentimes, the failure to report the conduct to law enforcement creates a culture of acceptance. The perpetrator believes his or her conduct is acceptable, and over time, the conduct escalates. What begins with light touching of private areas may, over time, escalate into penetration or rape.
For example, a woman signs up for a monthly massage membership at a local spa which is a branch location of a national chain. During her first few visits, everything goes well. On a subsequent visit, the client experiences unwanted touching of her private parts and reports the conduct to the spa’s manager.
The manager assures the client that the massage therapist will be dealt with internally. The client is never told that the same massage therapist had similar complaints lodged against him in the past. In accordance with policies of the corporate headquarters, the manager calls the corporate office. The manager is told that the specific massage therapist will be transferred to another branch location. Law enforcement is never notified, and the therapist commits sexual assault at the second location.
It is crucial to be aware of these types of incidents. If you experience sexual assault or even unwanted touching during a massage, don’t hesitate to contact law enforcement.
Massage Therapist Sex Assault – Help for Victims
Brian Kent is a former sex crimes unit prosecutor who is passionate about helping victims of sex assault. Mr. Kent is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Illinois. His firm also handles cases nationwide on a case by case basis. Please call for more information. Free consultations: Click To Call
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