GLEN COVE, N.Y. — A massage therapist at Massage Envy in Glen Cove on Long Island has been arrested after police say he made inappropriate contact with a client during a session in September.
According to Glen Cove Police, the victim stepped forward on Monday, just a day after BuzzFeed News reported more than 180 people have filed lawsuits nationwide aagainst workers at the spa — dozens in the tri-state area.
Erick Joseph, 30, of North Baldwin, was arrested Wednesday at the Massage Envy on School Street, and he faces sex abuse and forcible touching charges. He’s expected in court on Dec. 5.
Police say the 28-year-old victim says the massage therapist touched her “inappropriately” and “manipulated her arm, causing her hand to touch him.”
The number and severity of the allegations came to light in an investigation by Buzzfeed. It cited not only lawsuits, but also police reports and other complaints.
Massage Envy does not require its franchises to inform police when accusations of sexual misconduct are made against the company, according to the report.
In response to the Buzzfeed investigation and other reports, Massage Envy has called the incidents “heartbreaking” and said they occurred over 15 years among 125 million massages given by the business.
“We believe that even one incident is too many,” Massage Envy said in a statement, adding that any violation of its zero-tolerance policy by a therapist requires termination. But BuzzFeed says some franchises have kept massage therapists on staff despite multiple misconduct complaints.AlertMe