Houston Massage Therapist Indicted for Alleged Sexual Assault
(HOUSTON) — After two Texas women accused him of sexual assault, Cody Wayne Lewis, a massage therapist at a popular spa chain, has been indicted.
The company, Massage Envy, now says that the spa he worked for did not follow a policy that could have prevented the second incident.
Lewis, 40, was an employee of a Massage Envy franchise in Magnolia, Texas when Kellie Armstrong — a mother of two — accused him of sexual assault in May 2011.
“He had started massaging the inner part of my thigh. Most massage therapists don’t do that,” Armstrong told ABC’s Houston affiliate KTRK. “But then he crossed that line.”
Armstrong filed a police report and complained to the store manager, but Lewis was never indicted.
Almost a year later, in January 2012, Lewis was accused by a second woman, this time at a Massage Envy franchise in nearby Spring, Texas. Lewis was arrested and indicted in July.
Armstrong told KTRK that the second incident could have been avoided.
“It happened to another woman,” Armstrong said. “This did not have to happen and so it’s just relief he’s been caught, but at the same time anger that he was allowed to and that he was at another Massage Envy.”
A spokesman for the Arizona-based Massage Envy said that the Texas franchise did not correctly implement a companywide policy of internally documenting sexual assault incidents like Armstrong’s.
“As a franchise company, Massage Envy has a national policy for its independently owned franchise clinics to document such incidents to protect its members, guests and other franchise owners,” Paula Stapley, a spokesperson for Massage Envy Franchising, LLC, told ABC News in a statement. “In this situation, the policy was not implemented correctly.”
“We have a zero tolerance policy on inappropriate behavior and are fully cooperating with authorities,” she said.
Armstrong has filed suit against Lewis and the Massage Envy franchise in Magnolia, Texas for damages, according to court documents.
Lewis’s lawyer, Douglas Atkinson, told KTRK that it is “unfortunate” that “when there’s a civil lawsuit of this nature that there’s going to be a financial motivation for an individual.”
Massage Envy employees also must pass a background check, but because Lewis was never charged in the first case, he passed and was later hired by a second franchise.
Lewis is expected in court again on Aug. 16.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio