Massage Abuse: The Unspoken Truth Behind Closed Doors
Massage therapy comes with many notable benefits, including stress reduction, pain reduction, improved circulation, lowered blood pressure, better immune function, and much more. But these benefits pale in comparison to the potential negative side effects of massage. Therapists may be too vigorous, causing more issues than they solve. Some massage therapists make inappropriate comments or cause you to feel uncomfortable. But by far, the worst of these negligent therapists sexually abuse their clients. This totally negates the stress-reducing potential of a massage – causing far more psychological damage than it could ever cure. Victims are left scared and mentally scarred. Some never come forward and struggle with these memories for the rest of their lives.
For those who do decide to take legal action and hold their abusers accountable, plenty of assistance is available. If you find yourself in this situation, your first resource should be an experienced massage abuse attorney in California. Your attorney will assess your unique circumstances during your initial consultation and determine the best route forward. In many situations, you may receive considerable financial compensation for everything you have been forced to endure. You can use this settlement to pay for continued mental health treatment or any other expense you might have incurred. In addition, a settlement can provide you with a sense of closure and justice that may help you move on.
Remember, the statute of limitations is an important concern when dealing with lawsuits. The longer you wait, the more difficult it becomes to sue. This is why moving quickly is always a good idea. Internet research can help you learn more about your legal options, but it is no substitute for guidance from a qualified attorney.
Companies Struggle With Abuse Allegations
One of the most notable companies that have struggled with abuse allegations throughout the nation is Massage Envy – a franchise that has been accused of sexual abuse via its therapists on at least 70 separate occasions. Many of these alleged incidents took place in California. The victims have filed lawsuits against the corporation, alleging that the incidents were completely preventable and would have never happened if the franchise had been more diligent in its hiring practices.
In the summer of 2022, it was also reported that a UK-based massage-booking company had been linked to sexual assault committed by its therapists. Although the startup simply connects clients with local, self-employed therapists, it is being investigated for potential liability and negligence. This shows how widespread the issue is in the massage industry.
Can I Sue? According to AB-616, California allows victims to sue for sexual abuse even if the incidents occurred up to 10 years ago. C.C.P Section 340.16 clearly states that victims are allowed to sue “Within 10 years from the date of the last act, attempted act, or assault with the intent to commit an act, of sexual assault by the defendant against the plaintiff.”
This is a significantly longer time limit when compared to most personal injury cases. For example, you typically have only two to three years to file your lawsuit if you were injured in a car accident. A 10-year statute of limitations certainly provides you with plenty of time, and this can be especially helpful if you are struggling to come forward and publicly hold your abuser accountable.
Sexual abuse in a massage parlor is certainly something that can form the basis for a lawsuit. This is especially true if there is physical abuse. You may receive a considerable settlement by naming the massage company as a defendant, as they will probably be insured against these types of lawsuits. The individual massage therapists will also likely face consequences – potentially criminal actions and prison time.
The Massage Therapy Act
Under CAMT’s law in California, there are several things that are illegal under the state’s Massage Therapy Act. These include:
- Touching or massaging a client’s genitals or anus for no reason
- Touching a female client’s breasts without an agreement in writing from the client and a referral from a healthcare provider
- Failing to properly drape the client
- Any type of prostitution
- Exposing oneself
- Posting sexually suggestive ads
- Engaging in sex acts – even if consensual
- Failing to provide adequate supervision on the massage parlor’s premises
- Lying on a job application, including:
- Lying or omitting information about being a registered sex offender
- Having your license denied, revoked, suspended, or fined
- Past civil litigation (being sued in the past) for acts as a massage therapist
- Failing to update CAMTC or an employer about new developments, including:
- Criminal conviction
- Civil litigation
- Allegations of prostitution
- Sex crimes or offenses
- Dressing inappropriately – specifically wearing transparent garments
Note that this is by no means an exhaustive list, and there may be other acts that also violate the Massage Therapy Act. If you believe that you have experienced something inappropriate and unlawful, speak with an attorney. There is a good chance it violates the Act – even if it is not specifically mentioned in the above list.
Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today
If you have been searching for a qualified massage abuse attorney in California, look no further than Mary Alexander & Associates. Over the years, we have helped numerous injured plaintiffs in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and many other areas throughout the state. We know that massage abuse is a pervasive issue – perhaps more common than many people realize. Victims have a right to come forward and hold their abusers accountable. You deserve compensation for everything you have been forced to endure, and the law is on your side if you have suffered abuse. Book your consultation today to get started with an effective action plan.