Three patients of a popular Lancaster holistic health clinic filed a suit claiming Matthew Schaitel, one of the clinic’s massage therapists, sexually abused the women during visits to the clinic between 2020 and 2021.
The suit also names Natural Remedies Massage and its owner Hollie Aneshansley, claiming the clinic did not take necessary steps to ensure patient safety, hid patient complaints regarding Schaitel, and allowed him to continue to sexually abuse customers.
“Not only did this massage therapist violate the standard of care for these three clients, the owner’s failure to take appropriate action meant that Schaitel was allowed to keep seeing customers without consequence,” said Beth Fegan, managing member of FeganScott Law Firm. “In a vulnerable setting, these women were assaulted, and now they must live with the trauma and pain the defendants caused.”
As stated in the 23-page complaint, Aneshansley was notified about Schaitel’s actions, but did not act upon patient claims that he engaged in sexually driven touching and manipulation during sessions with three women.
The suit also notes that Aneshansley failed to verify that Schaitel held the required licenses to provide massage therapy services. Had she done so, the complaint alleges, she would have found his licenses in Washington and Missouri had lapsed or were non-existent.
“These women were operating from a place of trust: they trusted that Natural Remedies and its owner were protecting their rights and looking out for their best interests, and they trusted that their massage therapist would treat them with the dignity and respect required by the standard of care,” said Fegan. “Tragically, this trust was violated by the business and its staff.”
Aneshansley entered into an agreement with the Ohio Medical Board in 2019, in which she agreed to an indefinite suspension of her massage therapy license based on “habitual or excessive use or abuse of drugs, alcohol or other substances,” the suit states. In August 2019, her license was reinstated on probationary terms, but again suspended indefinitely for the same issues in October 2020.
The suit seeks relief for the clients’ significant physical and emotional distress and aims to hold Natural Remedies Massage, its owner, and Schaitel accountable for the sexual abuse.
According to Fegan, Schaitel failed to follow the Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals standard of care, including ignoring draping standards and failing to get explicit consent for the session plan.
“We feel the urgency to shed light on this predatory behavior,” said Fegan. “These women are taking a stand in the face of trauma, and it’s our goal to ensure that these institutions are a safe place for all.”
The suit brings multiple claims against the defendants, including sexual battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent supervision and retention, vicarious liability, negligent business operations and negligent failure to provide adequate security.
Natural Remedies Massage is based in Lancaster, Ohio, and provides a range of massage and spa services including aromatic medicine, float tanks and holistic health coaching.
FeganScott is a national class action law firm dedicated to helping victims of sexual abuse and sexual harassment. The firm, championed by acclaimed veteran, class action attorneys who have successfully recovered $1 billion for victims nationwide, has helped survivors of sexual abuse reclaim their lives and seek compensation from their perpetrators. FeganScott is committed to pursuing successful outcomes with integrity and excellence while holding the responsible parties accountable.