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Nearly 200 accuse massage therapists at national spa chain of sexual misconduct

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -

Nearly 200 women are accusing massage therapists who work at Massage Envy of sexual misconduct.

According to a report published on Buzzfeed, the company and its franchisees mishandled or ignored more than 180 sexual misconduct cases nationwide.

The report cites police reports, lawsuits and other officials documents.

One accuser, Kandice Martellaro, says she worked as a receptionist at a franchise location outside of Los Angeles. She says she was sexually assaulted while getting a complimentary massage.

"He [massage therapist] pulled the blanket back down to my ankles, pulled my underwear down to my knees, could see everything I had and then massaged my butt with his hands," said Martellaro.

Martellaro says after telling her manager about what happened, the therapist kept his job.

"I think that some sort of serious audit needs to happen of the company and their protocol needs to be immensely changed," she said.

In December 2016, our Madison sister station WKOW-TV reported that a 22-year-old woman accused 33-year-old Christopher Ehrett of sexually assaulting her during a session at a Massage Envy in Fitchburg.

This June, Ehrett was sentenced to three years probation, including six months in jail time.

In response to these allegations, Massage Envy released a statement: 

"The article references 180 reported incidents. These occurred over a span of 15-plus years and 125 million massages.

But, we believe that even ONE incident is too many so we are constantly listening, learning, and evaluating how we can continue to strengthen our policies with respect to handling of these issues."

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