Massage Envy, a the US's biggest massage-therapy franchise with over 1,200 locations nationwide, has been accused of sexual assault by more than 180 women.
In a statement Sunday, Massage Envy - which has more than 1,100 franchises in 49 states, according to the company's website - said the incidents described in the report were "heartbreaking for us and for the franchisees that operate Massage Envy locations".
Sadly, many other claims surface in Buzzfeed's report, which also touches upon Massage Envy's inability to provide much comment on the allegations for legal reasons. Buzzfeed shed light on more alleged assaults at Massage Envy locations.
Once Ingram called the cops on her own, Deiter fessed up and eventually pled guilty to molesting nine women. One client, Susan Ingram, told CBS News it was during her seventh visit that Deiter violated her, throwing her into "a state of shock, disbelief, fear".
She noted on the show how the Massage Envy therapist leaned over and whispered "our little secret" after violating her at the end of a 90-minute massage at the Willow Lawn location in 2015.
The report cites police reports, lawsuits and other officials documents.
"It's terrible to be assaulted when you're in a very vulnerable position, 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", said BuzzFeed reporter Katie Baker.
The Buzzfeed "article references 180 reported incidents", the company said in a statement to The Washington Post. After driving home sobbing, she called the spa to report the sexual assault.
Ingram said she called the Massage Envy manager and was only given a "very apparently scripted response" inviting her to come in and talk about the service.
Massage Envy also said it requires franchisees to conduct "prompt, fair and thorough investigations". "We are constantly listening, learning and evaluating how we can continue to strengthen our policies with respect to handling of these issues".
But overall, Melanie Hansen, general counsel of Massage Envy Franchising, said the company has worked hard to create the industry's "most stringent, rigorous policies" for hiring, screening, and training therapists.
The company, in an email to USA TODAY, said it recommends franchisees "support and assist clients who choose" to report assaults to police.
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