Sep 27, 2017 |
Massage Envy, a franchised chain that employs tens of thousands of massage therapists nationwide, has dozens of locations throughout the D.C. metro area. As perhaps the most recognizable name in the industry, Massage Envy has built its reputation as a place people can trust to get a safe, professional massage.
Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case for at least four women in Washington, D.C., and Maryland. According to the Washington Post and NBC News 4, a male massage therapist employed by Massage Envy locations in Dupont Circle, Tenleytown and Bowie, Maryland, has been accused of sexual abuse.
Accusations of Massage Therapist Sexual Abuse in D.C. Area
So far, four women have reported to police that Habtamu Gebreselassie, age 24, engaged in sexual misconduct while massaging them at three Massage Envy locations in the D.C. metro area.
According to NBC News 4, the alleged attacks occurred between June and September 2017 at the following locations:
- 2000 Block of P Street NW, Washington, D.C. (Dupont Circle)
- Bowie, Maryland
- Tenleytown, Washington, D.C.
Investigation Continues as More Victims Come Forward
Reports show that after at least two of the incidents where management was notified, Gebreselassie was allowed to continue working for Massage Envy. After his conduct was reported in June to a Massage Envy manager at the Bowie, Maryland, location, the victim was told that Gebreselassie was being relocated to the D.C. location.
Just two months later, management at the Tenleytown, D.C., location received a report of another sexual assault by Gebreselassie. He was allowed to keep his job at the Tenleytown location after undergoing additional training.
The investigation is ongoing as more women are expected to come forward with reports of sexual abuse. D.C. police are asking for other victims to contact them at (202) 727-9099.
So far, Gebreselassie faces charges of first- and second-degree sexual assault and has been fired from his job.
Steps You Can Take to Protect Yourself
Our lawyers recommend that you ensure your massage therapist is properly licensed and has successfully completed a background check by his or her employers before you or a loved one undergoes massage treatment.
At ChasenBoscolo, we believe that businesses have a responsibility to keep their patrons safe, especially when their services require a deep level of trust. Our lawyers are actively investigating this situation to help victims hold the responsible parties accountable. If you feel you were the victim of sexual assault at a Massage Envy location or similar place of business, we urge you to contact our lawyers. Dial (800) 322-3380 or complete a free initial consultation form anytime.