HOUSTON - A civil lawsuit filed in Harris County alleges a massage parlor didn't do enough to prevent one of its former employees from sexually assaulting a client.
"The civil lawsuit is really to punish them. They knew and were in the best position to keep this from happening to their patrons," said attorney Jennifer Kahn.
Khan represents a client who says she was sexually assaulted by Omar Ruiz, a former employee at Massage Heights on Briar Forest, during a massage.
"I went once a month. It was a contract I had. It was a normal massage. Then I jumped up, and said no," said the victim.
KPRC Local 2 does not identify sexual assault victims. The woman is married with two children.
When the woman ordered Ruiz, 36, out of the room, she said he wouldn't leave.
"He asked me not to tell anybody that this happened. I kept asking him to leave the room. He wouldn't leave and I raised my voice and finally he left," said the woman.
Ruiz pled guilty to sexual assault, a second-degree felony. He's on five years deferred adjudication. As part of his guilty plea, he had to register as a sex offender for life.
"Just a couple of months before this incident with my client, Mr. Ruiz had previously been accused of sexually assaulting another patron at that same Massage Heights location," said Kahn.
KPRC Local 2 contacted Massage Heights Corporate. They said they don't comment on current litigation, but the company did release the following statement:
Massage Heights is an international franchise whose mission statement is to provide professional, affordable and convenient therapeutic massage utilizing the skills of professionally trained and licensed massage therapists. We screen our franchise partners thoroughly and train our operators to screen their employees as well. We have a no tolerance policy for sexual misconduct that is clearly stated in our operations manuals and on our guest intake forms. We expect mutual respect from the clients with the therapists and oppositely.
We take pride in providing a quality lifestyle for our team members and our member and non member guests and do not compromise that.
Massage Heights is eager to work with the Houston Police Department in any way we can to help. The employee was immediately terminated upon the notification of the incident and a report has been filed with the Texas Department of Health massage therapy division.
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