Massage Envy therapists accused of sexual assault by nearly 200 - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Massage Envy therapists accused of sexual assault by nearly 200 women

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WASHINGTON -

A woman who says she was sexually assaulted during a massage comes forward, in part to prevent other women from being victimized.

The woman called told Washington, D.C. police a masseuse assaulted her at a Massage Envy in September. 

24-year-old Habtamu Gebreselassie now faces a charge of sexual abuse. In addition to a charge of attempted sexual abuse from august, at the same location.

The woman joins nearly 200 others in claiming assault by a Massage Envy employee, a statistic first reported by Buzzfeed. She filed a lawsuit under the name Jane Doe, but recent events prompted her to come forward today, to spare other women. 

"My name is Tara Woodley and I'm releasing my status as Jane Doe," Woodley said in a press conference on Monday. "I hope that by sharing my story and my real name that I will encourage other women to speak out as all of  join together to help create change in our country and communities." 

Woodley says her masseuse uncovered her and performed oral sex on her without consent. 

"It is almost impossible for me to find the right words to express how violated I felt and how scared I was," Woodley said.  "I didn't even know how to respond in that situation. And then, I, I just, you know, just kind of froze, for a second, and didn't know what to do." 

Woodley says her masseuse apologize, said he'd never done that before, and begged her not to tell anybody. 

Massage Envy released the following statement: 

"Each of these incidents are heartbreaking for us and for the franchisees that operate Massage Envy locations. With over 15 years and 125 million massages, even one incident is too many. That's why we will never stop reinforcing to our franchisees the importance of a safe environment. It's why we are constantly listening, learning and looking at how we can do more, including how we support franchised locations with best practices in handling these incidents and supporting their clients."

There are several local Massage Envy businesses. We called to ask if any local franchises were involved and were directed to a corporate spokesperson, who at this time has not called back. 

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