Henrico County, VA - After a Virginia mother was sexually assaulted by her massage therapist, the company responded by offering her a refund instead of calling 911.
The incident occurred at a Massage Therapy in Henrico in the fall of 2015.
The victim said, "For a long time, I changed the way I went to the grocery store and I changed all my errands so that I wouldn’t have to drive by it, but it is virtually impossible not to drive by a Massage Envy, they are all over the place."
“It would make me sick to my stomach every time I passed a store, or saw an advertisement."
Dick is a professor at a local university, and the mother of a ten-year-old. She said that she would get massages to relax but the massage on that particular Sunday afternoon changed her whole perspective.
She said that initially, the massage was relaxing, then she remembered feeling frozen, as if she were in shock. She said that she thought to herself “At first you think, well that was a little odd, did his hand just slip?”
In an interview with WTVR, Dick said that she felt violated, afraid, and confused. She said “It takes a while for your brain to catch up and realize, oh no, this is what is going on.”
At the end of the assault, Dick said that she remembered her massage therapist, Daeshawn Bullard, telling her ‘Our little secret, okay?’
Dick said she realized that she had to report the incident, so she reported it to the company.
In response, the company manager told her, "We understand that you were unhappy with your massage experience, so we won’t charge you for the massage, and if you’d like to cancel your membership, we won’t charge you a penalty fee."
The company manager also refused to call police, and told Dick that the matter would be handled internally.
Dick then went to report the assault to police.
Nearly two years after Dick reported the incident to police, and after an almost 11-month legal battle, Bullard was convicted of sexual battery and forcible object, sexual penetration. He was sentenced to five years in prison.
Dick is now blogging about w hat happened to her, and has started a petition to force Massage Envy to put policies in place to protect their clients and support sexual assault victims.
After WTVR contacted Massage Envy, the business issued a statement that said:
"We are deeply concerned by this and, although this is an active legal case and we can't comment on the specifics, we have reached out to Ms. Dick, through her counsel, to continue to listen to and better understand her concerns and ideas.
We can tell you that we expect franchisees to treat every member and guest with dignity and respect, and that includes support for reporting incidents to law enforcement.
As leaders in the industry, we are passionate about developing and maintaining our policies for every franchisee as they screen and train their therapists, with the goal of stopping preventable incidents of inappropriate conduct at Massage Envy franchise locations.
We know that the members and guests that come to Massage Envy franchise locations put trust in the franchisee's licensed or certified therapist that performs each service.
So, we are always looking to build on and improve those standards in order to create the safest and highest quality customer experience in the industry."
Do you think that there's any excuse for how the company handled the incident? We'd like to hear what you think. Please let us know in the comments.