A woman sexually assaulted in a Coral Gables Massage Envy has filed a civil lawsuit against the franchise, which follows similar reports nationwide.
Fort Lauderdale attorney Adam Horowitz on Thursday said he filed the lawsuit in the Miami-Dade County Circuit Court on behalf of the 23-year-old woman who wished to remain anonymous.
The lawsuit alleges the victim was assaulted by David Egusquiza, a massage therapist, in March during a massage in the franchise located at 256 Miracle Mile in Coral Gables.
“She was in shock. She was in disbelief. No words could come out of her mouth," Horowitz said. “Finally, she gained her composure and gave him a look like 'what are you doing?' and he said 'I’m sorry, I’m sorry' and then he kissed and the massage quickly concluded.”
Egusquiza pleaded guilty and was convicted of felony battery in October. He was sentenced to five years probation.
"The suit alleges that the massage industry has a 'substantial problem' of male therapists sexually assaulting female clients," Horowitz said in a statement.
Victims from other South Florida areas such as Boca Raton and Coral Springs have made similar accusations. BuzzFeed reported in late November there have been more than 180 allegations of sexual assault or misconduct linked to Massage Envy.
“My client didn’t feel that he got as long a criminal sentence as he should have. And then she later learned that what happened to her is not an isolated incident," Horowitz added. "There have been many incidents of sexual misconduct at Massage Envy according to a recent national story nearly 200 cases around the country.”
In a previous statement, Massage Envy said: "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," the company said.