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3 alleged sexual assaults at Massage Envy locations in Colorado in the past 5 years

Posted: 6:18 PM, Nov 27, 2017
Updated: 2017-11-27 20:39:12-05

DENVER -- Denver7 has uncovered at least three cases of alleged sexual assault at Massage Envy locations in Colorado over the past five years.

This comes after a  BuzzFeed News Investigation found more than one hundred women across the country have accused its massage therapists of sexual assault.

The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies or DORA regulates individual massage therapists who are licensed by the state.

According to state license discipline records, there are at least three cases of alleged sexual assault by therapists at Colorado Massage Envy locations.

Records state therapist Victor Contreras groped a client's genitals "with his thumb during a therapeutic massage of her at Massage Envy." The incident reportedly happened in September of 2012 at the Massage Envy location in southwest Aurora, located on Cornerstar Way near Parker Road.

Another Colorado therapist, at an unidentified location, was accused by four women of engaging in "sexual conduct during the massages," according to state records. The alleged incident occurred in June of 2016.

A third allegation, reported in June of 2013, involved a therapist allegedly kissing "a client on the lips during a massage therapy session."

In most cases, the state board either suspends their massage therapist license or the therapist voluntarily agrees to have it suspended.

Others have been charged with crimes, including Boulder therapist Kai Bernstein who spend 45 days in jail for "unlawful sexual behavior" for the December 2013 incident, according to DORA records.

Denver7 reached out to the Massage Envy location in southwest Aurora but did not hear back.

A DORA spokesperson confirmed there is also one additional open case against another therapist for alleged sexual relations with a client at Massage Envy.

"Applicants for massage therapy licenses are required to get a background check and there are strict professional standards," explained Lee Rasizer a DORA spokesperson. "If consumers are concerned about an issue they believe violates professional standards or wrongdoing occurred, they are encouraged to notify law enforcement, with whom we work closely as well, and to file a complaint [colorado.gov] online with us."

Massage Envy's corporate office released the following statement: 

"Each of these incidents is heartbreaking for us and for the franchisees that operate Massage Envy locations, and we will never stop looking for ways to help our franchisees provide a safe environment at Massage Envy franchise locations. The article references 180 reported incidents. These occurred over a span of 15 plus years and 125 million massages. 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.”