Victim of Sexual Assault at Massage Parlor Speaks Out | NBC Southern California

Victim of Sexual Assault at Massage Parlor Speaks Out

An Encinitas massage parlor was sued over a former massage therapist who sexually abused a client

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    NBC 7's Dave Summers talks with the victim who is suing after she was sexually assaulted by a massage therapist who, she claims, was without a proper background check.

    (Published Friday, March 10, 2017)

    A woman sexually assaulted during a massage session at a local parlor spoke out about the incident on Thursday.

    The victim, who NBC 7 is referring to as "Susan" has sued Massage Heights in Encinitas, claiming the company hired former therapist George Washington Lindsey III without a proper background check.

    Court records indicate Lindsey was convicted of sexual battery and labeled a sex offender in connection with this case.

    Susan is now back in court trying to change the way spas like Massage Heights are operating.

    The details may be graphic.

    She told NBC 7, she is a veterinarian and single mother of two small children.

    "I trusted him. I trusted the company,” she said.

    The trips to Massage Heights were once a soothing break from the stresses of her busy life.

    But the appointment last February, with then therapist Lindsey, went terribly wrong.

    “His face was in between my legs," Susan said.

    She said she told him to stop. He apologized while he massaged her hand and then began squeezing her throat.

    "I became very frightened that he was going to honestly kill me," she said.

    Susan said she talked Lindsey out of the room, dressed and went straight to the Sheriff's department.

    Later, a jury found Lindsey guilty of sexual battery.

    Investigative records obtained by NBC 7 from the San Diego County Sheriff's Department indicated Lindsey was fired from his previous job at Massage Envy of Rancho Bernardo.

    His employee file reads: "Lindsey was terminated for gross misconduct and a zero tolerance policy violation. Massage Envy has a zero tolerance policy for inappropriate touching."

    “I can't believe someone would hire somebody with that kind of history,” Susan said.

    A spokesperson for Massage Envy verified that Lindsey was terminated and identified as not eligible for rehire but they added that Massage Heights did not contact the former employer about Lindsey's past.

    “This situation has changed my perception of when I feel like I am safe and when I feel like I am not safe and that's scary to me,” Susan said.

    Massage Heights released through email two statements regarding this case.

    They said Lindsey's credentials were up to date and that the state would have revoked privileges had such incidents been reported.

    NBC 7 is not identifying the victim by her real name.

    Here is the entire statement sent to NBC 7 by Massage Heights:

    "We were appalled to hear of the allegations of sexual misconduct of one of our franchisee’s massage therapists in Encinitas. As noted when the allegations originally surfaced, Massage Heights Franchising stated, and it reiterates today, it has a zero tolerance policy against inappropriate behavior, including sexual misconduct. As noted in the company's original statement issued in October 2016, upon learning of the allegations, the local franchisee immediately terminated the massage therapist’s employment and fully cooperated with authorities in the investigation and conviction of the therapist. Prior to hiring the massage therapist, the local franchisee conducted background and reference checks, and confirmed the employee had a current license to practice in the State of California, which requires criminal background checks of all massage therapists before issuing and renewing licenses. The massage therapist's license was current from the State and if any claims or incidents were reported, the State would have not renewed the license. Additionally, any claim that an employee of the franchisee was aware of a prior incident at a previous employer is completely false. Massage Heights Franchising is dedicated to the wellbeing of the thousands of members and guests our franchisees serve, and these policies are designed to create a safe and secure environment in each and every retreat."