Women recount their sexual assaults at Massage Envy spa

According to a BuzzFeed investigation, Massage Envy is facing allegations that more than 180 people were assaulted at its locations across the country.
5:44 | 11/28/17

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:



Skip to this video now

Now Playing:


More information on this video
Enhanced full screen
Explore related content
Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for Women recount their sexual assaults at Massage Envy spa
It was a feeling of complete evil in the room, in the dark. Reporter: For Susan Ingram what started out as a relaxing massage at this massage envy in Pennsylvania turned into an agonizing experience at the hands of her masseur. I felt his erect penis grinding into my hand, and I froze in fear. Reporter: Susan says he then groped her breasts. He then reached up both legs, put his fingers in and out of my vagina, and asked me how my 55-year-old body felt now. Reporter: Susan is now suing massage envy. Relaxation. Reporter: It is the largest chain of massage franchises in the country, boasting nearly 1,200 spas and more than 20,000 massage therapists nationwide. It celebrates the benefits of its massages in ads. Massage envy. Making the best of everybody. Reporter: According to a buzzfeed investigation published this week, massage envy is now facing allegations that more than 180 people were sexually assaulted at its locations across the country. Susan says soon after the assault she reported the assault to the spa manager. She responded with I'll invite you in to talk about your services. And I asked her if he was giving a massage to another woman and she said yes. I said, please, I'm begging you. I am begging you to do the right thing. I need you to go down there in that room, open that door, get that woman out. She said, I can't do that. Reporter: After Susan reported the assault to police, her masseur, James dater, was arrested and eventually pleaded guilty to assaulting nine women while working at massage envy. But Susan alleges she was put at risk because she says massage envy knew of at least one incident prior to her assault. I was the prey. He was the predator. They knew it. I didn't. It shouldn't have happened. Reporter: Danielle says she was also sexually assaulted at a massage envy location. It went from being an ordinary day to finding myself face down with the masseuse's hand over my mouth and him touching me completely inappropriately. Reporter: Her attack happened at this franchise in Richmond, Virginia in October of 2015. So at the end of the massage he leaned over and whispered in my ear, "Our little secret. Okay?" And that was the point at which I knew that I had to come forward and report it. Reporter: Immediately afterward Danielle says she spoke to the spa's manager. She was in shock and really seemed like a deer in the headlights. She then repeated that massage envy has zero tolerance and that they would handle it internally. And I kept responding, well, we need to call the police because he could go to any other massage parlor and work there. Reporter: Danielle says she called the police as soon as she left massage envy that day. Her masseur, Deshawn bollard, has since been found guilty of felony object sexual penetration and misdemeanor sexual battery. He was sentenced to prison last year. Danielle has a pending lawsuit against massage envy. Although massage envy says it cannot comment on open legal cases, it told ABC news, "When there's an allegation of inappropriate conduct, franchisees must report incidents to the company, immediately remove therapists, and conduct a prompt investigation. If the franchisee concludes an incident occurred, he or she must terminate the therapist, who will become ineligible for hire at any massage envy in the future." Could massage envy be held liable for some of these instances? If you're a company that offers up franchises, you're not necessarily responsible for everything that happens in any one of those franchises. The legal question becomes can you show that there was day-to-day involvement in the operations of the company? Reporter: Massage envy also tells ABC news the reported incidents occurred over a span of 15-plus years and 125 million massages but adds even one incident is too many, so we are constantly listening, learning, and looking at how we can do more. Is it not a crime to not report a crime? It's a moral obligation. But most of the time it's not a legal obligation. Reporter: Susan Ingram has been pushing for a federal law requiring that massage facilities, owners, and staff must report sexual assaults to police. A version of the bill is now in congress, which could put violators in prison for up to six months. Industry insiders like I-spa's former chairman gene Kolb, says while it's rare the allegations are disappointing but not surprising. One assault is one assault too many. And as an industry it is zero tolerance. If a guest sun comfortable and they feel there has been something that has occurred inappropriately, as spa operators we should encourage them to go to their authority. Reporter: As for Susan Ingram lawsuits will affect change. We can together send the message that this era of simply issuing nice statements and doing nothing about it is not going to be tolerated any longer. Reporter: For in the I'm linsey Davis in New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

{"id":51425528,"title":"Women recount their sexual assaults at Massage Envy spa","duration":"5:44","description":"According to a BuzzFeed investigation, Massage Envy is facing allegations that more than 180 people were assaulted at its locations across the country.","url":"/Nightline/video/women-recount-sexual-assaults-massage-envy-spa-51425528","section":"Nightline","mediaType":"default"}