New masseur at Massage Heights accused of sexually assaulting woman during session
HOUSTON – A masseur recently employed at Massage Heights was arrested Wednesday after a woman claims he sexually assaulted her during her massage.
The licensed masseur, James Jefferson, 55, is facing two counts of sexual assault. Records show that Jefferson's birth name is Wenjin Zhu, but he recently changed it to James Jefferson.
A woman claimed Jefferson sexually assaulted her Monday during her two-hour massage at the parlor, located in the 3000 block of W. Holcombe Boulevard, Precinct 1 Constable Alan Rosen said.
Once the woman reported the assault to officials, a female undercover officer was sent to the parlor to get a massage from Jefferson.
Rosen said his office wanted to act quickly to prevent other victims.
“It was very important to me that we move very quickly on this case because of the victim's outcry,” Rosen said.
Investigators placed undercover assets on the officer to see if Jefferson was sexually assaulting her, and the officer made a report on him Wednesday morning. He was later arrested.
By Wednesday night, two other people came forward saying Jefferson may have sexually assaulted them as well.
The business said he was a new employee.
Rosen said he's made arrests at "shady" massage parlors before but in this case, Jefferson acted alone.
“This is an employee of the business. As I’ve said before, I don’t think we can condemn a whole business, unless we saw other people say that there are multiple massage therapists that are committing these acts. At that point, then I would say the business may be complicit. But we’re not seeing that as of yet,” Rosen said.
The Massage Heights Franchising released the following statement:
Massage Heights Franchising and the local franchisee have a zero-tolerance policy related to inappropriate behavior, including sexual misconduct, and our priority is to do everything possible to protect the thousands of members and guests our franchisees serve. The local franchisee was not aware of any allegations against the massage therapist, as no previous complaints had been reported to the local Retreat. Upon learning of the allegations and arrest, the franchisee immediately terminated the therapist’s employment and is fully cooperating with the local police in their investigation.
Massage Heights Franchising requires franchises to conduct criminal background checks prior to hiring and that franchisees ensure all therapists complete mandatory training on safety procedures and sexual misconduct. The local franchisee confirmed the therapist passed the criminal background check conducted during the hiring process.
He said if there are other victims, he would like them to contact his office at 713-755-7628.
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