A woman is suing a popular Tribeca spa after she claims she was molested by an unlicensed masseuse who had been accused of sexually abusing other customers as well.
According to the Daily News, the woman and her boyfriend (whose names were not released) went to Aire Ancient Baths in March 2014 for an "extravagant and relaxing" experience. The plaintiff, who is a lawyer herself, was attended to by masseuse Edgeman Seker.
"Throughout the course of the ‘massage,’ Seker intermittently touched plaintiff offensively and inappropriately on the intimate parts of her body, including her buttocks, breasts, inner thighs, pelvic region, and vagina," the lawsuit states. "Seker interspersed his offensive touching with seemingly normal ‘massage’ techniques."
At the end of the massage, the lawsuit claims that Seker leaned over and whispered in the woman's ear, "I hope you enjoyed that."
It later turned out that Seker was not a licensed massage therapist and that "at least two other victims had reported offensive sexual contact" with him in the months before this incident.
Aire Ancient Bath was allegedly "uncooperative" with the subsequent police investigation, although they did fire Seker despite "[determining] no wrongdoing had occurred." Eventually, Seker was charged with sexual abuse and unauthorized practice of a profession; last year, he pled guilty, and completed a court-approved program for registered sex offenders.
The woman is now suing the spa for negligence, battery, assault, infliction of emotional distress, and negligent infliction of emotion distress. Her attorney said she was traumatized by what happened: "My client wants more than anything to prevent assaults like the one she was subjected to from happening to anyone else," said David Shanies in a statement.
Lawyers for the spa said in a separate statement, "We intend to vigorously defend the company against the allegations... including the baseless allegations that Aire failed to cooperate with authorities or were nonresponsive to the NYPD’s inquiries."