New Law Would Require Massage Spas to Report Assault

Legislation a Reaction to Local Massage Envy Sexual Assaults
By: Luongo Bellwoar LLP
WEST CHESTER, Pa. - July 25, 2016 - PRLog -- Thanks to recently introduced legislation, employees and owners of massage spas and therapeutic practices spas could soon be legally required to report allegations of sexual abuse against clients. The Duty to Report Sexual Assault Act of 2016, introduced by U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-7, of Media joined with co-sponsor U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Mass, was drafted in response to an assault local to West Chester.

In May, a former employee of the West Goshen Massage Envy spa, James R. Deiter, was sentenced to 6.5-13 years in prison after pleading guilty to the sexual assaults of nine women (No. MJ-15203-CR-0000160-2015). One victim's report in particular inspired the creation of this proposed law.

After reporting the assault to the police, it was discovered that another client had complained to the spa just a few months earlier that Deiter had molested her. He was suspended for one week following this initial incident, and it was never reported to police.

LUONGO BELLWOAR LLP along with Laffey, Bucci & Kent represent eight plaintiffs in a civil lawsuit against Deiter awaiting trial. The Daily Local quoted attorney Thomas Bellwoar's response to the legislation:

"The bill introduced by Congressman Meehan is a necessary step forward for the protection of individuals from businesses who place the importance of company profit over the safety and well-being of their clients and customers," Bellwoar said. "It is a logical and common-sense way to ensure that the complaints and reports of victims of inappropriate conduct or sexual assault will be taken seriously by businesses and reported to the proper authorities."

Additionally, a conviction would result in a $1,500 fine and up to six months in federal prison. Although the bill requires incidents to be reported, it does not require police to investigate or charge a therapist unless asked to do so by the alleged victim.

"The sickening truths is, American women have a 1-in-4 chance of being sexually assaulted in their lifetimes," said Clark, the co-sponsor, to the Daily Local. "When sexual violence persists at such a daunting scale, we all bear the weight and responsibility of it as a national injustice. The Duty to Report Sexual Assault Act is a small, but important step to ensure businesses and our criminal justice system are working in tandem to report and prevent sexual assault."

LUONGO BELLWOAR LLP is a strong supporter of the Duty to Report Sexual Assault Act. The firm encourages any victims of sexual assault by massage therapists throughout the country to report the crimes to law enforcement and contact a lawyer immediately.


LUONGO BELLWOAR LLP is a Chester County, PA law firm that represents the rights of crime victims in the civil justice system. Attorneys Stanley E. Luongo, Jr. and Thomas B. Bellwoar have over 45 years of combined experience in the practice of law. The law firm is located in downtown West Chester. Learn more at


PA Crime Victim Legal Advocates
Tags:Massage Envy, Assault, Crime Victim Attorney
Location:West Chester - Pennsylvania - United States
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