Sexual assault lawsuits filed against massage business

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CHICAGO (WAND) – A massage chain with stores in Illinois is now facing legal trouble.

An investigation by Buzzfeed found over 180 people nationally have filed lawsuits against Massage Envy, which has three stores in Chicago and a fourth in Naperville. The suits, which include four total claims filed at the Chicago-area locations, say Massage Envy workers touched customers inappropriately during massage sessions and didn’t make the effort protect them.

In response, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan sent out subpoenas to the Chicago locations and Massage Envy Franchising, LLC in a push for more information. Madigan says she wants the company to explain how it trains masseuses and elaborate on its policy for inappropriate sexual behavior.

NBC 5 Chicago received a statement from Massage Envy, which said the company has a “zero tolerance policy” for inappropriate acts. Massage Envy says “such conduct is impermissible and will not be tolerated”, adding it has tried to create “stringent, rigorous policies” for hiring and training masseuses.

Franchisees manage individual Massage Envy stores.

Buzzfeed’s report accuses Massage Envy workers of touching the genitals and breasts of customers. Some of the complaints say digital and oral penetration happened.

NBC 5 reports two of the lawsuits filed in Chicago, which include one a woman filed in late 2016, still aren’t settled. Two others in Chicago are still active. 

Read a statement from Massage Envy's CEO here

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