RICHMOND, Va. -- The more Chaz Roca learned about Shawn Robinson's past in the massage industry, the more convinced she became that "this should have never happened to me."
Robinson, the subject of an extensive CBS 6 Problem Solvers investigation, was convicted in July 2021 of sexually assaulting Roca and four other women at a Massage Luxe in Williamsburg.
Now Roca and three other women, who each claim they were assaulted by Robinson at the spa in late 2020, are suing Massage Luxe and seeking more than $100 million in damages.
"To send a message to the industry, to these defendants, that this sort of behavior is not acceptable," Kevin Biniazan, a partner with the law firm Breit Biniazan said.
Biniazan is one of a group of lawyers representing the women.
The lawsuit was filed in Virginia Beach because that is where the registered agent for the franchisee is located.
In the lawsuit, the lawyers point out Robinson was indicted for sexual assault at a Chesterfield Massage Envy in March 2019.
He was then hired at a Massage Luxe franchise in Henrico in September 2019. There, two clients told the spa he had assaulted them that very month.
And yet, according to the lawsuit Robinson retained his employment at the Henrico location until he was found guilty on the Chesterfield charge in July 2020.
But, a short time after that conviction, Robinson was let out of jail, and he got hired at the Massage Luxe in Williamsburg.
"All of those things happened and Massage Luxe, including the national franchising company, did nothing to prevent Mr. Robinson from sexually assaulting our client or frankly the other women he sexually assaulted along the way," Stewart Ryan, an attorney with Laffey, Bucci, Kent, said.
The women and their lawyers argue Massage Luxe should have known Robinson's history and claim clients were placed in imminent danger by assigning Robinson to massage them.
"What Mr. Robinson did in the past wasn't difficult to learn, and we are going to find out what they knew, when they knew it, and why this happened," Biniazan said.
"Somebody didn't do their homework, somebody didn't do their due diligence to seek and make sure this person was a professional that could adhere to the rules and regulations of the law when it comes to practicing," Chaz Roca said.
We reached out to the company for a response to the lawsuit, and we are waiting to hear back.
In the past, they told us they did perform a background check on Robinson and it came back clean. They also said he had an active license to practice massage at the time of his hire.
🔎WTVR.COM IN-DEPTH: CBS 6 Problem Solvers Investigations
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- 'Last victim' grapples with underlying question after ex-massage therapist convicted of more assaults
- Ex-Chesterfield massage therapist convicted of sexually assaulting 5 more victims
- Massage therapist convicted of sexual battery, accused of sexually assaulting another client
- Former massage therapist at Massage Envy found guilty of sexual battery
- Why a masseur indicted for raping a client wasn't arrested until CBS 6 got involved
- Woman allegedly sexually assaulted at Short Pump Massage Envy wants safety changes
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