BROOKLYN (PIX11) — A husband’s romantic Valentine’s Day gesture turned tragic when his wife was allegedly raped by a massage therapist in their Brooklyn home earlier this year, according to a new lawsuit.
The woman, identified as Jane SE Doe in court papers filed in Brooklyn, sued massage company Soothe, Inc. and Evident, Inc., the company Soothe hired to do employee background checks.
On Feb. 14, 2022, the victim’s husband was out of town on business and used the Soothe app to order a massage for his wife, per the lawsuit. It was meant to be a Valentine’s Day gift, she said.
The company sent Hernando Giraldo to the Brooklyn home, where he allegedly sexually assaulted and raped her before fleeing, according to the complaint.
“I’ve been traumatized by this event,” the woman said. “Since he knows where I live, I have a fear of this monster returning to my home.”
The plaintiff alleged that Giraldo, who remains at large, is not the therapist’s real name and that he had been arrested by the NYPD for attacking another Soothe customer prior to the Valentine’s Day incident.
He left a scarf behind, the woman’s lawyer said. The scarf was given to the NYPD so it could be tested for DNA.
Court records state Soothe advertises that its employees undergo criminal background checks and identity verification to assure customers’ safety. The massage company hired Evident to handle the vetting process, the complaint said.
“With this lawsuit, Doe hopes to recover from the unbelievable trauma of being raped in her own home and to protect others from suffering a similar fate,” said the woman’s lawyer, Nathan Werksman.
Soothe’s website says they use vetted professionals who undergo background checks. The company sent a statement to PIX11 News regarding the allegations in he lawsuit.
“Our number one priority is the safety of our clients, and we take this allegation very seriously,” a Soothe spokesperson said. “We have a zero-tolerance policy regarding any and all harm to our clients or providers who use our platform. We work diligently to ensure all independent contractor therapists using our app are vigorously reviewed to ensure they meet our safety and licensing standards. We are actively working with authorities on this ongoing investigation.”