Local Massage Envy not included in latest lawsuit

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WDTV)-- Nationwide, nearly 180 people have come forward and filed sexual assault lawsuits against Massage Envy spas. In light of these allegations, 5 News paid a visit to the Morgantown location to get an inside look into the employee training process.

There have been no confirmed reports of anything inappropriate happening at the store on Patteson Drive, but we did want to find out what the leaders there are doing to prevent that kind of thing from ever happening here.

Making sure people feel safe while on the massage table is part of Chris Baratz's job. As the owner of Massage Envy in Morgantown, Baratz said all new hires must go through a background check and a series of training modules.

"Once they pass the background check then they start on our online modules and then hands on modules with our lead therapist and manager. All massage therapists have to do a practical massage on me, our manager, and our lead therapist before they can even go through training," said Chris Baratz, Owner.

At the Suncrest location, there are currently 15 massage therapists. To ensure inappropriate behavior doesn't happen, employees must also go through continuing education and annual courses on ethics.

"It's on ethics, it's on behind closed doors, which goes over how to act with guests and vice versa, so it is very involved. We also run a background check on all of our employees, both front desk and service providers every year," said Baratz.

Lead Therapist, Emily Caudill, said talking with her clients and making sure they are comfortable is necessary.

"It's great to see them come in and get excited about their massage and for me to be able to make them feel relaxed, it's really great," said Caudill.

5 News also talked to customers to hear their experiences.

"I've got terrible back problems and every time I leave here my problems are gone," said Kenneth Weiss.

"I have been coming here since 2015 right after they first opened. i have been coming once a month since then and I've never missed a month," said Pam.

5 News did receive an email from a person who claimed something inappropriate happened to her at this location. However, the owner told us he searched through all of his files and computer database and they have no record whatsoever of this person ever being a customer. We reached out to the person for an interview, however they did not respond to our request.

To learn more about the services offered at the Suncrest location or to make an appointment, click the Related Links tab to your right.

Massage Envy, at the corporate level, released a statement regarding the national allegations.

Massage Envy in a statement Monday said the complaints documented by BuzzFeed News spanned a period of more than 15 years and said each account was heartbreaking.

“But, we believe that even one incident is too many, so we are constantly listening, learning, and evaluating how we can continue to strengthen our policies with respect to handling of these issues,” the company said.