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Oregon State House candidate sues massage parlor after alleged groping

A candidate for the state legislature in Oregon is suing a massage parlor and its owner, after a massage that allegedly included having his genitals groped.

Democrat Anthony Medina, who is the current chair of the Woodburn School Board, is seeking $450,000 in damages from Woodburn Spa and owner Fuxiu Zhen. 

“Plaintiff immediately told the masseuse that he did not want to be touched in that manner,” the complaint says, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB). “The masseuse then briefly massaged Plaintiff’s feet for 10 seconds and then terminated the massage at roughly 20 minutes at which Medina [promptly] left.”

Medina’s claims include battery for the unwanted touching, as well as allegations of “human trafficking, indentured servitude, prostitution and other criminal activities,” according to the Oregon Capital Chronicle, in addition to negligently hiring unlicensed massage therapists and failing to properly train employees regarding illegal touching. The complaint also states that neither Zhen nor a second masseuse have massage therapist licenses in the state of Oregon, although Zhen is reportedly licensed in California.

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Zhen is also listed as the owner of Portland’s Iris Massage and the Angels Touch Massage in Eugene, Ore., and Medina’s lawsuit lists both among the defendants.

In a report to Woodburn police, Medina reportedly claimed that he went to the Woodburn Spa in February when he could not get an appointment with his chiropractor. He claimed that the massage table looked like a bed, and that he was given a towel instead of a sheet to cover himself. 

Following the incident, he went home and told his wife, then called police. He later spoke to the Capital Chronicle, saying that the experience brought up past trauma from his childhood.

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“I was the victim of sexual assault when I was 10 years old, and, during this experience with the masseuse, I froze and became that 10-year-old all over again,” he told the outlet. “Unfortunately, I had to relive this trauma all over again.”

He added that incidents like this “can be difficult things to talk about, but we all have a responsibility to act, whether you are a victim or are aware of any possibility that human trafficking and exploitation might be happening in our community.”

Following Medina’s report, Woodburn Mayor Eric Swenson claimed he had a similar experience at the same establishment.

Records show Medina filed the complaint on Thursday in Marion County Circuit Court, but they had yet to show that papers had been served on the defendants. The lawsuit comes about a month after Medina reported the incident to local police. Marion County District Attorney Paige Clarkson opted not to pursue charges against the spa or masseuse, the Capital Chronicle reported.

“They’re operating with impunity,” Medina’s attorney Sean Riddell told OPB. “My client’s desire is to shut down these businesses.”

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