Getting a massage reduces your stress levels and offers a variety of other health benefits. It’s a valuable care option for many individuals with chronic illnesses and an affordable special occasion splurge for those trying to fit a luxurious escape into a busy schedule and tight budget.
Millions of Americans frequent massage parlors annually for various reasons. The last thing anybody wants to consider during this relaxation ritual is being on guard against an attack that could cause them permanent physical and psychological harm.
But, as industry insiders have long known, and as most of the general public only recently found out, massage facilities have a miserable track record of protecting their clients from sexual assault.
Why Choose Us?
Legal proceedings and worries related to sexual assault can be difficult, traumatic, and draining. Attempting to deal with legal concerns by yourself can be intimidating and frustrating. However, you don’t have to go through this alone. At The Stoddard Firm we have a skilled Atlanta massage parlor sexual assault lawyer ready to assist you.
We recognize that there is no shortage of legal counsel for cases involving sexual assault in massage parlors. Yet our lawyers care deeply about our clients, and it shows in the excellent work and justice we produce.
When representing clients, The Stoddard Firm never accepts the first settlement offer made by a corporate defendant or insurance company. We don’t advise clients to accept anything less than full and fair compensation, and we are experienced trial attorneys prepared to argue your case until the very end if settlement can’t be reached.
Here are just a few sexual assault results from our firm:
$500,000: Compensation for the victim of a sexual attack during a massage. After our firm provided evidence that the facility knew of a history of assaults committed by many masseuses, the massage business settled the complaint and paid the plaintiff’s damages.
$1,200,000: Compensation for a lady who was sexually abused in an apartment complex parking lot. The Stoddard Firm discovered a recurring cycle of dangerous and violent crime at the apartment, incidents that had previously been hidden from the tenants and their guests.
1,200,000: Remuneration for a woman who was sexually assaulted by a man who broke into her apartment. Mr. Stoddard discovered proof that the security guard had not reported for duty on the night of the event, meaning that there was no nighttime security patrol at the apartment complex.
No case is too big or too small for our attorneys. Our firm’s primary objective is to provide each client with the highest quality individualized service, attention, guidance, information, and representation possible.
Call The Stoddard Firm at (678) 737-8587 or contact us online to set up a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your legal needs. Our team supports you legally and emotionally during this trying period..
Can You Sue a Massage Parlor?
The law might allow you to file a case if you were assaulted or injured while receiving a massage. Depending on the circumstances, there’s a chance you can file a claim against a specific employee, the owner/manager, or the company itself. Sexually improper touching that could give rise to legal action includes:
The glutes: The buttocks are often worked on as part of a full body massage, but this is totally at the customer’s discretion and is entirely optional. You should know that there are rules to follow here. The masseuse must avoid opening the cleft or working near the orifice.
Breasts: Touching a client’s breasts while giving a massage is permitted in only a few states, but only with the client’s prior written approval.
The inner and upper thighs are rarely massaged from the client’s front or back. The only time the area shouldn’t be wrapped is if the client specifically asks for it due to a preexisting injury to the muscle or tendon. Unless otherwise specified, the therapist should not come closer than 2-3 inches of the genital area.
It is illegal for a massage therapist to make unwanted physical contact with a client. The client’s genitalia (vagina, penis, or testicles) should never be touched during a therapeutic massage. This becomes maltreatment when the masseuse does this to you without your consent.
There are specific protocols for each step of a massage. Our team of concerned professionals can help you determine if there was inappropriate touching during your massage if you question its propriety.
Assault-Enabling Policies Have Not Truly Changed
The issue of sexual assault in massage parlors gained significant news coverage in November of 2017 when reports surfaced of more than 180 sexual assaults at Massage Envy spa locations across the country. These reports also highlighted Massage Envy’s corporate policy of protecting the brand at all costs by dismissing customer complaints, refusing to involve law enforcement or state regulatory boards, and harassing any victims who took legal action.
Once the scandal became too big to contain, the company’s self-preservation policies took a new form. Breaking with its usual tactic of denying all responsibility, Massage Envy instead made some superficial policy changes and claims of cooperation.
The new policy requires that accusers be allowed to make a private call to the authorities, but it does not need location managers to make any reports themselves. It also calls for annual therapist background checks, which serve no purpose as long as therapists’ crimes go unreported, making those crimes impossible to discover through said background checks.
Perhaps most importantly, Massage Envy’s policy applies only to Massage Envy itself and not to the systemic issues with the massage industry as a whole, such as:
A limited pool of qualified therapists has yet to keep pace with demand, making facilities unwilling to be selective about hiring and retaining staff.
Managers with no knowledge of appropriate massage techniques or training on how to handle incidents of criminal behavior
Services being performed in private rooms with no cameras or witnesses
Absence of federal regulation and uneven, inadequate regulation on state and local levels.
Here in Georgia, for example, the board of massage therapy claims that it can’t possibly be expected to keep a record of massage therapists’ crimes, even when those crimes have received a conviction or high-profile news coverage. This indifference to regulating the massage industry, the very purpose for which the board supposedly exists, shows no signs of improving after recent events.
How Can We Help?
The attorneys at The Stoddard Firm are sensitive and reliable, and they will be there with you through it all. Our legal team has vast experience representing people in sexual assault lawsuits, including massage parlor assaults.
We recognize the emotional and physical toll that a sexual assault case may take, and our firm is dedicated to supporting you in every way possible. In addition, we treat each case with discretion and confidentiality.
Contact us if you suspect you were the victim of sexual assault during a massage or if you have any questions about this or a related circumstance.
Massage Parlors Are Responsible for Keeping You Safe
Survivors of sexual assault often experience self-doubt and misplaced guilt. When an individual or business benefits from survivors’ silence, preying on these feelings is a common tactic. Massage Envy’s lawyers once made a policy of accusing survivorsof inviting sexual assault through their negligence, simply by using the spa’s services.
In many cases, survivors also worry that they don’t have the grounds to accuse their attackers because they did not do enough to fend off the assault. Finding yourself unable to fight back in the heat of the moment is not a sign of weakness or cowardice, and, most importantly, it is not equivalent to consent. On the contrary, freezing is a typical involuntary response to a sexual threat — part of the fight, flight, or freeze instinct.
Everyone has the right to be free from unwelcome sexual contact. If that right has been violated, at the very least, the fault lies with the perpetrator and never with the victim.
In the case of sexual assaults in settings like massage parlors, the company usually shares the blame as well. Despite all claims to the contrary, businesses are responsible for taking reasonable steps to ensure client safety. Failure to take misconduct complaints seriously and remove therapists who pose a known threat to clients is an egregious breach of that responsibility.
It’s normal to feel afraid and disoriented after severe trauma, but make no mistake: you are in the right, and you deserve to be heard. Coming forward with your claim can protect potential future victims and ensure you have the resources you’ll need to cope with the long-term effects.
What to Do If You’ve Been Assaulted
First of all, get to a safe place and call 911. Make a full report to law enforcement, and get a complete medical exam, even if you feel physically uninjured. Once your immediate needs are met, register a direct complaint with the massage company and the state board for the sake of records.
Here are a few critical steps you should take:
Find a doctor. When coping with the psychological and physiological impacts of sexual abuse, prompt medical attention is essential. In the aftermath of a sexual assault, be checked out by a doctor even if you don’t think you were hurt.
Take legal guidance. Steps to take and potential legal remedies in cases of sexual assault are best discussed with an experienced massage parlor sexual assault attorney. Doing so as soon as possible is recommended, as your lawyer will be in a better position to secure the necessary counseling and care services for your rehabilitation. Having a lawyer on your side can help get the ball rolling on a lawsuit, which could result in a faster resolution of your case.
Involve the authorities in your area. After a sexual assault, it must be reported to the police immediately. Tell them everything that happened because your account may be used as proof if it’s thorough enough. An attorney can sit in on interviews with law enforcement to provide comfort and advice.
Write the company a letter of complaint. You should register a formal complaint at the facility where you received your massage, whether it is a franchise or independently owned. Your Atlanta massage parlor sexual assault lawyer can assist you in crafting a complaint that will safeguard your confidentiality and rights.
Keep all physical proof. This could include not taking a shower or getting rid of clothes. Don’t use the bathroom or wash your hands if you can help it. There’s a chance you could lose evidence that could prove your case. Your lawyer can advise you on the types of evidence that may prove crucial and the best methods for keeping them secure.
Do not take a quick “hush money” settlement or allow yourself to be intimidated into believing that what happened to you was unimportant, impossible to address, or your fault. Finally, reach out to the legal experts at The Stoddard Firm online or at 678-RESULT for a free consultation on how we can help you find justice.
Protecting your rights and ensuring you have all the information you need to make educated decisions during the reporting process is why having an attorney there is so important.
To prevent your having to engage in potentially traumatic interactions with the offender, your attorney can act on your behalf to handle all necessary communication. While you focus on taking care of yourself, we’ll handle the legal paperwork needed to support your case.
The Cost of Sexual Assault
There are many forms of sexual assault, and depending on your specific situation, you might face unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, and genital or internal injuries. Regardless of whether there are physical effects, you may also find yourself struggling with lifelong psychological symptoms, including:
Difficulty establishing and maintaining healthy relationships
Self-destructive impulses up to and including suicide.
Support from a team of medical professionals can make a huge difference in your recovery, and the level of care you receive should not be limited by your ability to pay.
Consult One of Our Attorneys Who Know About Sexual Assault Cases
While you focus on recovery from your ordeal, a lawyer who focuses on sexual abuse cases will conduct an investigation and establish your claim.
To set up a meeting with one of our attorneys, please call The Stoddard Firm at (678) 737-8587 and talk with one of our attorneys today, or contact us through our website. A lawyer-client relationship ensures the privacy of all communications with our legal office.
Attorney Matt Stoddard
Matt Stoddard is a professional, hardworking, ethical advocate. He routinely faces some of the nation’s largest companies and some of the world’s largest insurers – opponents who have virtually unlimited resources. In these circumstances, Mr. Stoddard is comfortable. Mr. Stoddard provides his strongest efforts to his clients, and he devotes the firm’s significant financial resources to presenting the strongest case possible on their behalf. Matt understands that his clients must put their trust in him. That trust creates an obligation for Matt to work tirelessly on their behalf, and Matt Stoddard does not take that obligation lightly. [ Attorney Bio ]
Tell us about your concern and request a free, no obligation, confidential legal consultation.
A year and a half ago, a Cherokee County police officer performed a traffic stop on a vehicle containing a man in his late 30s and an underage girl. The girl seized the opportunity and told the officer that the man, Mark Thomas, had been sex trafficking her for the past three months, starting when she was 15 years old.
The investigation that followed resulted in six arrests and, so far, five...