A therapist at Massage Envy in Glen Cove faces sex abuse and forcible touching charges after, police said, he made inappropriate contact with a client during a session in September.
Glen Cove police said the accuser went to police on Monday, one day after the website BuzzFeed News reported more than 180 people have filed lawsuits, police reports and other complaints against the national chain regarding sexual misconduct at the spas and by its employees.
Erick Joseph, 30, of North Baldwin, was arrested Wednesday at the Massage Envy on School Street, and he faces arraignment Dec. 5 in Glen Cove Court, police said.
Glen Cove police Det. Lt. John Nagle said in a statement Thursday that the accuser, a 28-year-old woman, told police that she had “notified Massage Envy the next day regarding the incident.”
During that massage, police said, “the complainant stated that the massage therapist” touched her “inappropriately” and “manipulated her arm, causing her hand to touch him.”
Officials at Glen Cove Massage Envy could not be reached Thursday.
In an email, Massage Envy officials at the company’s Scottsdale, Arizona, headquarters declined to comment on the Glen Cove case. But Joe Magnacca, chief executive officer, issued a statement saying: “I, like so many of you, continue to be sickened and so disheartened by the stories that have recently been published about sexual misconduct at Massage Envy franchise locations. We have zero tolerance for this type of behavior and to those who suffered, I am deeply sorry.”
The statement added that the company had begun to take a “hard look” at itself and would be reviewing its safety and reporting policies, examining therapist files for background checks and rescreening the 20,000 licensed massage therapists in its franchises.
The Associated Press reported that the BuzzFeed website story said “dozens of women reported” assaults at Massage Envy spas. The AP said BuzzFeed found “many of those who complained believed their claims were mishandled or ignored by employees and owners” of both local spas and the national company.
It was not clear whether Joseph is represented by counsel or whether he is still employed by the spa.
Police are asking anyone with information about the alleged incident or any similar incident to contact them at 516-676-1000.
With Zachary R. Dowdy