Despite assault allegations, lawmakers move to let massage thera - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Despite assault allegations, lawmakers move to let massage therapists police themselves


A massage therapist convicted of sexually assaulting four women could go back into business if Wisconsin lawmakers succeed in dropping state licensing regulations and letting therapists police themselves.

Supporters maintain that removing the requirement would open up opportunities for job seekers, but opponents say it would make the public less safe and is ill-timed, given the number of women who have come forward with allegations of assault.

"You go to a massage therapist (and) you think of somebody who's going to bring healing and wholeness to your body," said one of Huaying Sun's victims, who asked to remain unidentified. "You don't think of somebody who is going to sexually abuse you and assault you."

Sun was sentenced last week to 60 days in jail and 18 months probation for his assaults on four women.

His crime isn't isolated. The Wisconsin chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association said state officials in 2016 disciplined 16 therapists -- a 100 percent increase from the previous year -- for various reasons, including sexual assault. A Buzzfeed News investigation reported on the allegations of more than 180 women who said they were assaulted at Massage Envy locations throughout the country.

Sun's partner has taken over the business and adopted a new name, but his victim fears that Sun could one day be back in practice.

The bill is SB 288.

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