MOUNT PLEASANT — An employee at a massage business has been accused of sexually assaulting a client.
The incident comes as a growing number of Massage Envy locations across the country have drawn scrutiny recently, with sexual assault allegations levied against some staff members of the billion-dollar chain.
The individual who reported the alleged assault to Mount Pleasant police Dec. 15 told investigators they were receiving a massage from Nicholas Benjamin Coyle, 27, the same day. Multiple times throughout the 90-minute massage session, the individual — whose gender was not listed in the report — said Coyle moved his hand toward the person's genitals, according to a police report.
The first time, Coyle, of Mount Pleasant, told the client it was accidental, authorities said. Another time, he said it was "just a breeze," the report states.
When the client was told to lie on their back, Coyle proceeded to perform oral sex, authorities said. When the individual peered down at what Coyle was doing, the therapist looked up and said "Your session is done," according to authorities.
In a state of shock, the individual told police that they paid for the massage and left.
As of Thursday morning, Coyle was jailed at the Cannon Detention Center on $25,000 bail.
This incident occurred at the Long Grove Drive location, one of two Massage Envy locations in Mount Pleasant.
The popular chain boasts more than 1,000 locations and is the largest such franchise in the United States. In November, BuzzFeed News reported that more than 180 people have filed sexual assault lawsuits, police reports, or state board complaints against Massage Envy spas, their employees and the national company.
In a statement Thursday, a Massage Envy spokesperson said the company is saddened and deeply disturbed by the Mount Pleasant report.
"This therapist is no longer employed by the franchisee, and the franchisee will cooperate with law enforcement in its investigation of the incident," the statement said. "Safety in the treatment room has been — and always will be — paramount, and we believe our recently announced Commitment to Safety defines a clear path forward that will create meaningful change to ensure the safety and well-being of members and guests.”