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28 November 2017, 01:05 | Nina Hammond
The popular massage chain Massage Envy is facing allegations of more than 100 sexual assaults at franchise locations according to reports
In Northeast Ohio, there are at least eight Massage Envy locations, including stores in Beachwood, Westlake, Avon, and Strongsville.
The country's largest massage franchise is under fire after reports that more than 180 allegations of sexual assault or sexual misconduct have been mishandled or ignored by Massage Envy franchises nationwide.
Susan Ingram says her masseur turned into a sexual predator during her seventh visit with him at another Massage Envy location in 2015.
Massage Envy has more than 1,100 locations serving more than 1.5 million members.
The most disturbing part, like many stories of sexual assault that have come to light over the past several weeks, is the swiftness with which Massage Envy reportedly tried to sweep the reports under the rug. "But I think that for some women it's even worse to go and report what happened to you and not have it taken seriously". Others say managers dismissed the claims, offered them refunds or told them not to file police reports.
"Massage Envy told BuzzFeed News that it would not be "appropriate to respond point-by-point" to questions "because of pending litigation" and the confidential documents involved".
According to the company, their therapists have done approximately 125 million massages in the past 15 years. I was like, "Oh s-t!'" said one woman who declined to give her name as she left a session at the 63rd Street spa Monday morning.
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".
The Buzzfeed "article references 180 reported incidents", the company said in a statement to The Washington Post.
Adam Horowitz, a lawyer who has worked on two dozen cases against Massage Envy, said the actual number of assaults is likely considerably higher. "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".
"Franchisees are required to report inappropriate conduct to the state licensing boards that require it", the company said.
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