Dozens accuse massage therapists at national massage chain of sexual misconduct

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One accuser, Kandice Martellaro, says she worked as a receptionist at a franchise location outside of Los Angeles. In Florida, a woman said she tried to push away her massage therapist as he licked her vagina.

More than 180 women are accusing therapists at Massage Envy of sexual assault.

The BuzzFeed report recalled similar cases in other states in which women accused their Massage Envy therapists of assault with digital and oral penetration, among other things.

Massage Envy said in a statement: "We hold franchise owners accountable to our policies and, when we say nothing is more important to us than treating clients with respect and giving them a safe, professional experience, we mean it".

According to BuzzFeed, Massage Envy only requires franchises to conduct internal investigations of abuse claims except in the few states that require notification of local law enforcement. Numerous lawsuits claim the reports were ignored or mishandled by the company.

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The Buzzfeed report highlights the story of a Pennsylvania-based customer, Susan Ingram, who said she was sexually assaulted in May 2015 by a massage therapist named James Deiter. Officers questioned Deiter, who quickly admitted to assaulting the nine women - some of whom had previously complained to the spa, BuzzFeed reports.

A well-known national massage chain is now the latest public entity facing accusations of sexual assault. The report cited various lawsuits, police reports and other official documents, NBC News reports. With over 15 years and 125 million massages, even one incident is too many.

According to a report published on Buzzfeed, the company and its franchisees mishandled or ignored more than 180 sexual misconduct cases nationwide.

"Massage Envy is a partner in crime", Ingram adds.

"She said in a very apparently scripted response, 'We invite you in to talk about your services.' And I said no, no, no you don't understand, '" said Ingram. "It's why we are constantly listening, learning and looking at how we can do more, including how we support franchised locations with best practices in handling these incidents and supporting their clients". The news outlet said massage providers in most states are not legally mandated to report client allegations of sexual assault made in their facilities.

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