An Encinitas massage parlor is being sued after a customer said she was sexually assaulted by an employee.
According to the lawsuit, George Washington Lindsey III, a massage therapist for Massage Heights allegedly assaulted a customer, and forcibly gave her oral sex. When the customer resisted, he grabbed her throat in a "threatening manner," the suit alleges.
Lindsey was convicted of sexual battery by a jury in February.
The lawsuit alleges this is not the first time Lindsey has been accused of sexual assault.
According to the victim's attorney, Massage Heights was aware of Lindsey's sexual misconduct at a Massage Envy location but ignored it.
“George Washington Lindsey III is now a convicted sex offender due to his assault on my client. Massage Heights failed to disclose Lindsey’s prior record of abuse, harassment and molestation to my client and law enforcement. Although they profess to conduct full background checks on their employees, Massage Heights did not even bother to call Mr. Lindsey’s previous employer, Massage Envy Encinitas even though one of their managers knew he had worked there and may have known he was fired for gross sexual misconduct. If they had done so, my client might never have been attacked,” said victim’s attorney Morgan Stewart.
NBC 7 reached out to Massage Heights regarding the lawsuit and was told their franchise has a zero-tolerance policy against sexual misconduct.
In a statement, Massage Heights said, in part:
We were appalled to hear of the allegations of sexual misconduct of one of our franchisee’s massage therapists in Encinitas. Massage Heights Franchising has a zero tolerance policy against inappropriate behavior, including sexual misconduct, and upon learning of the allegations the local franchisee immediately terminated the massage therapist’s employment and is fully cooperating with authorities in the investigation."
The statement went on to say, "This employee was licensed by the state of California, which requires thorough background checks of all massage therapists before issuing and renewing licenses. The terminated massage therapist's license was current from the state and if any claims or incidents were reported the state would have not renewed the license."
"Massage Heights Franchising is dedicated to the wellbeing of the thousands of members and guests our franchisees serve, and these policies are designed to create a safe and secure environment in each and every retreat," the company said.
NBC 7 reached out to Massage Envy and have not yet heard back.