WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A New Jersey man went to a spa in Chelsea thinking he was getting a massage and facial but ended up suing the establishment.
- Ronnie Arnau claimed that a masseur moved his fingers below his buttocks and began caressing his privates.
- Arnau called the cops who arrested Pei Tian, the masseur who was charged with forcible touching and sexual abuse.
Ronnie Arnau of Woodland Park, NJ, sued Living Fresh Men’s Spa on West 22nd Street and its masseur Pei Tian for sexual abuse.
On Sept. 8, Arnau went to the upscale spa with his husband, expecting a massage and facial. The 34-year-old says he was lying face down on a table, clad only in a towel when a masseur started “what appeared to be a normal massage.”
According to Arnau’s Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit, masseur Pei Tian began to focus “exclusively on Arnau’s buttocks for an inordinate amount of time, making him very uncomfortable.”
“As Arnau became more and more uncomfortable with Tian’s focus on his buttocks, Tian moved his fingers below Arnau’s buttocks and began caressing” his privates, the court papers say.
According to the lawsuit, “At no point had Arnau indicated, orally or otherwise, that he consented to Tian touching his penis. Nor did he ever indicate any desire for him to do so.”
Arnau, who was shocked by the masseur’s actions, said that “he completely froze.” And then Tian “threw off his towel and told him to turn over.”
Arnau immediately rose from the massage table and ordered Tian to leave the room. He called the cops, who arrived and arrested Tian, according to the suit.
Pei Tian was charged with forcible touching and sexual abuse. He did not return a message seeking comment but his criminal case is still pending.
The Post found out that Tian still works for the spa, according to a receptionist at Living Fresh Men’s Spa.
Sean, the receptionist who only gave his first name, also said that Tian had been working there for a ten years and he hadn’t heard of the allegations.
“It’s not that kind of spa,” Sean noted.
Arnau insists that the spa’s owners know about the illicit rubdowns but keep silent. He seeks unspecified damages.
A “Mr. M.” who went to the spa for an upper-back rub said that the masseur “immediately started massaging my ass” in a recent Yelp review of the company.
The spa’s owners did not respond for a comment.
Arnau’s lawyer, Carrie Goldberg, said, “Living Fresh Spa ignored Mr. Arnau when he reported the assault. The spa– through their silence and inaction– condones the idea that gay men at gay spas are consenting to unwanted touching from staff,” she said.
“While people may laugh about the sexualization of spas – happy endings or locker room orgies — the vast majority of people go to spas for healing and relaxation – not sex,” Goldberg added.
Source: New York Post