If someone touched you inappropriately during a massage session at a spa in California, you could potentially have cause to pursue a claim for sexual abuse against the person who committed the act or against the facility where the incident occurred. In California, sexual abuse can be pursued as both a civil tort and a criminal offense. This means that people who have been sexually abused have the legal right to sue for damages.
If you've suffered sexual abuse at a California day spa, massage parlor, medical spa, or resort, our sexual abuse attorneys at the Sex Crimes Attorney can assist you. We can look into the specifics of your case, provide you with answers to your legal issues, and help you file a claim against the person or persons responsible for the abuse you've suffered. We are available to fight for you.
Massage Spa Sexual Abuse in California
Sexual abuse is a punishable offense under California Penal Code 243.4. According to this law, sexual battery (also known as sexual abuse or assault) occurs when someone touches another person's private part against their will, for sexual gratification, sexual abuse, or sexual arousal.
The breasts of females and the sexual organs, groin, buttocks, or anus of both sexes are considered "private parts." Sexual battery is punishable by up to ten thousand dollars in fines and ten years in county jail or state prison.
The term "massage spa sexual abuse" refers to any form of sex offense perpetrated by massage therapists or any other spa employee against their client or customer. Since massage is a hands-on technique, the therapist must make physical contact with the client throughout the session.
But the therapist's body parts or even hands shouldn't touch the client's private parts to get them sexually aroused, gratified, or abused. In California, this counts as a sex crime, thus the victim could have grounds for taking legal action.
What are Massage Therapists Allowed and Not Allowed to Do?
A massage therapist is a trained professional who is certified to perform a massage. Before handling any customers, this individual ought to first have acquired proper credentials and completed the necessary training. Massage therapists work the muscles as well as other soft tissues to treat injuries and promote overall wellness.
Professional massage therapists, whether at a spa or in a client's home, are expected to treat clients with dignity and respect. Sadly, some massage therapists abuse their authority to violate the laws and sexually assault their clients.
A massage therapist's scope of practice is limited by law in certain ways. For instance, each person receiving a massage should be granted the chance to get dressed or undressed privately.
As soon as the client is positioned on the table for a massage, they should have a towel or sheet carefully placed over them so that no private parts are exposed. Under laws in California, massaging, or touching a woman's breasts is against the law and is considered sexual abuse. Massage therapists should always get the client's consent before working on sensitive areas like the glutes or buttocks. The massage therapist should always make sure that the client's genitalia are covered.
Why Sexual Abuse Happens at Massage Spas
Although sexual abuse can happen anywhere, they are surprisingly common in massage spas. One reason is that customers choose to pay for treatments like body wraps and massages, that call for personal contact. Additionally, many of these services require clients to be naked or only partially clothed, which makes them especially vulnerable to sexual predators.
For instance, massage therapists can easily prey on a person who is lying face down on the massage table and pretend that the unwanted contact was a misunderstanding or an accident.
A spa customer could also suffer sexual abuse at the hands of another customer. This can occur in places like in hot tubs, locker rooms, locker rooms as well as in secluded places with poor lighting. To comply with the law and protect their customers and employees from threats of this nature, businesses are obligated to put into effect necessary safety precautions. Therefore, if there were no security measures in place and you were abused sexually, the business could be liable for your physical and mental injuries.
Sexual assault acts similar to those that take place in spas can take place in several other places that provide wellness and health services. These places include but aren't limited to:
- Cruise ships.
- Hotels and resorts.
- Doctor's offices or hospitals.
- Nail or hair salons.
- Physiotherapy clinics.
- At your home, from spa therapists.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, it is in your best interest to educate yourself as early as possible about your legal options. Make an appointment with your legal counsel to get advice on how to proceed with your case.
Injuries from Sexual Abuse Cases
Victims of sexual abuse are at risk of suffering mental and physical trauma, which could last a lifetime for some people. The most frequent injury is trauma that impacts the genital region, but depending on how violent the attack was, victims could also suffer scratches, broken bones, and bruises among other injuries.
Most victims of sexual abuse, nevertheless, suffer no serious injuries. Will you still be eligible to bring a lawsuit in such a situation?
Without physical evidence of injury, you can still file a lawsuit for mental trauma caused by the assault. These damages aren't quantifiable in the same way that hospital bills and missed wages are, hence they are known as non-monetary losses.
Rather, these losses are intended to make up for the mental distress you had as a result of the abuse. That kind of trauma can have lifelong repercussions, and dealing with it can necessitate a combination of continuous counseling and medications. Victims of sexual abuse are at an increased risk of suffering from a wide range of mental health conditions, including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as stress-related disorders.
No one can predict how a sexual assault would affect a victim emotionally, and the magnitude of that impact will vary from person to person. You can evaluate the extent of the damage you've endured and calculate fair compensation if you retain the services of a lawyer with prior expertise in handling cases involving sexual assault.
Can You File a Lawsuit Against the Day Spa Where You Were Sexually Abused?
You have the right to sue the spa or any other party that is accountable for the injuries you have suffered. Proof of negligence is required to file such a lawsuit against an individual or business for financial compensation. These four factors can be used to demonstrate negligence:
- The defendant (the party you are filing suit against) had an obligation to look out for your well-being and safety.
- The defendant violated this duty of standard care by neglecting to eliminate a hazard, deal with a problem, or take appropriate measures to avoid an accident.
- You suffered physical or emotional harm as a result of the defendant's failure to fulfill their duty.
- You have a right to financial compensation for the injuries you sustained.
Let's imagine that you were subjected to the sight of a massage spa employee masturbating as you happened to be receiving your beauty treatment. You consult with a lawyer, who conducts some research and learns that there were numerous complaints made against this person.
However, because this facility is an affiliate of a much larger franchise, rather than terminating the employee, the corporation simply transferred the employee to a different facility. That makes them legally responsible for your sexual attack since they failed to take reasonable precautions to protect their clients.
However, for a client to file a lawsuit against a spa, the spa does not need to be solely accountable for the activities of its employees. Say a massage therapist touched your genitals while they were giving you a massage.
A California court may find an employer liable for a staff member's misconduct that happened when the employee was performing their duties. If an on-duty massage therapist sexually attacked you, you could have grounds for a lawsuit against the company under vicarious liability.
If a business fails to take reasonable precautions to prevent sexual assault, it could be held accountable for any resulting injuries. Spas present a unique challenge in this respect since the nature of the services they provide leaves clients more vulnerable than usual.
On the other hand, several things can be done, such as installing adequate lighting, securing locks and doors, having a staff member constantly monitor the area, and so on, that can prevent or stop sexual predators from going along with their urges.
These are some examples of how negligence can be proven in a sexual abuse case. Liability is a complicated legal term, especially when several people could be at fault for your injury. You can talk with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney and learn more about liability as well as your capacity to pursue damages.
The Steps to Take After Being Sexually Abused at a Massage Therapy Spa
If you have been the victim of sexual assault at a massage spa, you must take action as soon as possible. You could be feeling anxious or confused about what steps to take, but it is important to keep in mind that you aren't on your own. Finding a lawyer to represent you and initiating a lawsuit against the massage spa as well as the person who wronged you are essential steps toward getting justice.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual assault, your response should include more than just filing a lawsuit. The following steps have been provided to assist you as you move through this challenging process.
Seek Medical Help
Seek immediate medical assistance if you've been the victim of sexual abuse at a massage parlor. Get yourself checked out at a medical facility and treated if necessary.
As part of the medical treatment, you should undergo testing for any sexually transmitted infections, and contraceptives, and, if necessary, document any injuries that you might have sustained. It could also help to seek counseling and other forms of support as you work through the psychological consequences of the incident.
Prepare a Report
In the United States, 81 percent of women along with 43% of males reported having experienced sexual assault or harassment at a given moment in their life. To ensure your safety and the safety of others, it is crucial to inform the authorities about what happened to you.
If you report the incident to the authorities or file your complaint with a proper licensing body, you will be doing your part in making sure that those liable for the offense are brought to justice.
Do not get rid of any records that pertain to the day the abuse occurred. It can include information about your spa membership, your massage appointment, call audio files, and payment receipts.
Your doctor could also take genital and oral tissue samples, as well as blood, urine, and hair from the pubic area. Swab samples are often taken from the region where the offender touched you.
Consider Taking Legal Action
After you've reported the incident, you might want to think about getting legal counsel and either filing a claim against the spa or massage parlor or filing a police report against the offender to recover financial damages.
You should seek the advice of a lawyer who focuses on matters involving sexual assault or get in touch with a local organization that advocates for the rights of victims, for further guidance.
It's advised that you retain all the paperwork, reports, records of treatment, and other items that could be significant to the incident. Keeping these things could help the situation by making it easy for the police to look into it.
In addition to this, it is essential to ensure that you are kept up to date about the development of your case and any relevant new information. If you need help keeping tabs on the case or legal procedures, you can contact the victim's rights organization or the prosecutor's office.
Prioritize Your Well-Being
It's crucial to concentrate on both your emotional and physical well-being after the incident. Spend time on yourself and engage in self-care.
Reach out to loved ones who can offer encouragement, and if necessary, consult a professional counselor. It will be easier for you to recover from the traumatic experience of being sexually assaulted and move on with your life if you take charge of your psychological well-being.
No one should have to deal with sexual abuse. You must pursue justice as well as take appropriate action if you or your loved one is a victim of sexual misconduct at a massage parlor. Follow these procedures to ensure that your rights are protected throughout this process.
What Claim Can You File If Your Massage Therapist Sexually Assaulted You?
If you or a loved one has been the victim of sexual assault at a spa or massage parlor, you could be entitled to press criminal charges against the offender or bring a civil case against them. Assault victims typically have the option of filing criminal allegations against their attacker and/or filing civil lawsuits against the business where the crime occurred.
Civil Claims Versus Criminal Claims
Contacting law authorities to report a possible sex crime is typically the first step in the process. Law enforcement will then conduct investigations and, if appropriate, issue an arrest warrant for the alleged offender. In general, the information contained in a police report is made available to the public.
In criminal proceedings, victims submit reports, and prosecutors bring cases on their client's behalf. Criminal cases are frequently brought by prosecutors against the specific offender. Typically, the punishment consists of jail time and monetary fines.
In contrast, civil claims are brought by private parties, frequently through a legal representative. Victims who file civil lawsuits claiming sexual misconduct can ask for compensation from the massage professional for their actions as well as for negligence from the spa owners and franchise.
Along with any penalties or jail sentences that can be imposed in a criminal case, victims can file civil lawsuits in an attempt to recoup any financial losses incurred as a result of the act, as well as any emotional distress or injuries they sustained.
Having to deal with court paperwork and the process of filing it can be intimidating and daunting. However, speaking with an attorney who specializes in sexual abuse claims is your best bet for submitting all necessary paperwork in the shortest possible time.
Statute of Limitations for Filing Spa Sexual Abuse Claims
If you were sexually abused at a spa, you'll have two years from the date of the assault to file a lawsuit. It doesn't matter if the perpetrator is later found guilty; you'll lose your entitlement to compensation when you don't file a lawsuit within the time limit.
However, when you file criminal charges in California and the defendant is found guilty, you have one year from the date of the ruling to initiate a legal action, even though the lawsuit would be limited by the statute of limitations.
Liable Parties in a Spa Sexual Abuse Case
A person who has been the victim of sexual misconduct in a spa has many parties they could hold accountable when pursuing legal action. These parties include, but are not limited to:
Sexual abusers could be subject to both civil and criminal legal action for the emotional and physical damage that they cause. If the abuser is sued, their professional license could be revoked and they may also face jail time along with financial penalties.
The Massage Parlor or Spa's Operator and Owner
Business owners and managers have to ensure the security of their customers at all times while their personnel are on the clock. If these the business's managers and owners don't take precautions to safeguard their customers from sexual assault, they could face civil lawsuits.
The victims can show that the business's manager and owner failed to appropriately apply screening, standards, and other procedures while training and hiring staff members and therapists.
The head franchise of large spa networks may also be found civilly accountable for losses brought on by their negligence. For instance, Massage Envy has been held accountable for withholding reports of sexual assault in their establishments from the police, licensing authorities, and the general public.
Most large businesses have to have procedures in place to make sure their staff members don't cross any boundaries with their customers. Potential hires are frequently required to undergo background checks, staff are regularly observed and given the necessary training on proper conduct, and any allegations of misconduct are reported and looked into.
Sadly, some big businesses, like Massage Envy, dismissed allegations of sexual assault against their therapists and kept hiring them, opening themselves up to negligence lawsuits. Generally speaking, massage establishments can be held accountable and subject to civil liability under negligence statutes if they have knowledge of and choose to ignore accusations of sexual harassment by massage therapists who have previously been employed by the establishment.
Damages From a Sexual Abuse Lawsuit
Damages in a sexual abuse lawsuit can be both financial and non-financial. The list of losses that are eligible for compensation varies from one person to another, but the forms of compensation that attorneys often seek for victims of sexual abuse include:
- Medical costs.
- Suffering and pain.
- Lost wages or the ability to earn wages in the future.
- The incapacity to enjoy life.
- Emotional distress.
- Punitive damages.
- Lost consortium.
If you have any inquiries about any type of compensation, you need to consult with an experienced attorney who will help you determine what you're entitled to. Most victims have no idea what they should ask for in terms of compensation, therefore they fail to pursue it even when doing so would be in their best interests. An attorney will ensure you are fairly compensated and your rights are protected throughout this process.
Find a Spa Sexual Abuse Attorney Near Me
There's no denying the challenges of pursuing legal action against a sexual offender, and victims often report feeling pressured to withdraw their cases or settle for meager settlements.
That is why, irrespective of their age or circumstances, we at the Sex Crimes Attorney are so zealous in our pursuit of the civil rights of sexual abuse victims. You can count on our attorneys to treat you and the cases with the courtesy, empathy, and respect you deserve. Our California spa sexual abuse attorneys are available to fight aggressively for you. Call us today at 888-666-8480.