Transcript for Women speak out about sexual assault at Massage Envy spas
Back now with that report about sexual assaults at the largest massage franchise in the country, massage envy. Linsey Davis has the story. Reporter: It's the largest chain of massage franchises in the country. Whether you're looking to prevent stress, relieve pain. Reporter: But this morning according to a buzzfeed news investigation massage envy, a company which has nearly 1200 spas more than 20,000 massage therapists, $1.3 billion in annual sales and more than 1.6 million members nationwide is reportedly facing allegations more than 180 women were sexually assaulted at its locations. The day changed my life forever. Reporter: Susan Ingram says she was assaulted in 2016 during her seventh passage with therapist James dater and she's now suing. I was just totally traumatized with sadness, pain, sobbing. Reporter: As part of her lawsuit Ingram alleges she called the salon after the incident once she got home and learned he was with another client but that the salon refused to interrupt the session. I said, please, go down the hall, knock on that door, get that woman away from him. She said, I can't do that. Reporter: Dater is now in jail after pleading guilty to assaulting nine women while working at massage envy. Ingram alleges she was put at risk because she allegations massage envy knew of at least one incident prior to her alleged assault. Danielle dick is suing massage envy for more than $2 million after she says her massage therapist grabbed her by the head. Put his hands over her mouth and assaulted her. I was at a national massage chain. I was at a massage envy and you never think something like this is going to happen. Reporter: In her lawsuit she alleges she immediately reported it to the desk manager who said the massage therapist would be suspended. Each time I said we need to call the police she responded to saying massage envy will handle it internally. Reporter: She says she reported it to the police herself leading to his arrest and conviction. According to buzzfeed massage envy claims in court documents that it is not liable for sexual assaults at its franchise spas. The specific allegations of sexual assault outlined in the lawsuits against massage envy are really, really horrifying. Reporter: Overnight massage envy told ABC news each of these incidents are heartbreaking for us. Even one incident is too many. 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. Ingram has been pushing hard for a federal law requiring that massage facilities have to report sexual assaults to police, a version of the bill is now in front of congress which could put violators in prison for up to six months. Amy and George. All right, linsey, thanks. This is really shocking. Let's bring in Dan Abrams. The big question is whether or not massage envy, not just the franchises should be held liable or could be. There's no question these women will sue the individual franchise, right. If what they're saying is true they'll have strong lawsuits. The bigger question will they get at the corporate parent so to speevenlg there's something called a day-to-day operations test. Are they involved day to day in the operations of that business. Are they involved with the finances. Are they involved with the training, et cetera, because if they're not there is a possibility these people could just be able to sue the individual franchises. Also shocking there is a push now for federal reporting of incidents like this for massage parlors. It doesn't exist now. Because typically people aren't required to report crimes, right? There are exceptions and increasing there are which force people, entities to report particular types of crimes. And if this happens, it will fundamentally change it but there's a debate sometimes. Sometimes people say, well, victims should be able to control when things go to the police as opposed to an entity being forced to report it. But I think this is probably going to happen and it's probably very -- I think this is one of the most underreported crimes out there. This is absolutely disgusting. And I think we're going to see a lot of change. 180 women just from this one, you know -- Who come forward. Yeah, one chain. All right, Dan, thank you very much.
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