“I was scared. I was feeling panicked because I didn’t know what he would do next,” a woman who asked to be referred to as Carrie told NBC10 Investigator Kathy Curran. The NBC10 Investigators have protected the identity of Carrie, who said she was sexually assaulted during a massage session at Massage Envy on March 3, 2021.
Carrie has now filed a lawsuit against Massage Envy in Medford, Massachusetts, and state-licensed massage therapist Gilberto DaSilva.
“You’re vulnerable. You’re lying naked on a table in a room with one other person.” Carrie shared that within moments of DaSilva entering the room, she knew something was wrong.
“He raised my legs up and abruptly slammed them down, kind of pinning my ankles to the corners of the table,” she described to the NBC10 Investigators, “He took away the sheet and pushed it away from my leg so that it uncovered my entire leg.”
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“His hand was about an inch from my vagina and he was pulling my pubic hair,” said Carrie. “I was scared to fight and so I just stayed there, still as a statue, counting down the minutes until the hour was over,” she recounted.
Carrie told NBC10 Boston that before she left Massage Envy she went to the front desk to tell them what happened but DaSilva was there. She said in the days that followed she contacted Massage Envy by leaving a voicemail and completing an email survey where she says she told them his behavior was inappropriate and that she felt uncomfortable.
Emails provided to the NBC10 Investigators show Massage Envy responding to Carrie’s initial complaints on March 5 at 9:35 a.m. They advised her that “if this were to happen again, or if you are uncomfortable in any way to stop the session or to say something to the service provider.”
Emails show Carrie responded to Massage Envy at 10:30 a.m. She explained that when she first reported the incident, she was still “processing the experience” and said that she now felt DaSilva had sexual intent and called his actions “beyond inappropriate and unprofessional.”
According to court records, 9.5 hours after that email, DaSilva was accused of striking again, allegedly raping a woman on a massage table. NBC10 does not know if Massage Envy read Carrie’s last email before the alleged rape, but more than a week later, they responded to Carrie and said “I am sorry for the delay in my reply back to you. I didn't forget about you, and I was honestly just trying to figure out what I could say back to you. I have filed a report with the Medford Police so they are aware of this allegation. We do take these things seriously here at Massage Envy and I apologize if you felt like you were being ignored.”
Police records show Massage Envy shared Carrie’s complaints with investigators on March 11, 2021. Carrie reported her incident to Medford Police on March 8, 2021. She said the police called her and asked her to come and give a statement. “When I found out that he then was able to have access to another woman, I was horrified.”
The NBC10 Investigators have learned this was not the first time Gilberto DaSilva was accused of preying on a woman.
DaSilva previously owned a cleaning company. In 2009, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination ordered him to pay $165,000 to a former employee after she accused DaSilva of sexually assaulting and harassing her multiple times while on the job. DaSilva denied the allegations.
He was criminally charged but the case was nolle prossed, meaning the prosecution did not move forward with the case.
According to a spokesperson with the state licensing board, DaSilva was not required to disclose that case when the state licensed him to practice as a massage therapist. He was required to pass a criminal and sex offender background check. Reference letters we obtained from former instructors said that he was an “absolutely joy to be around.”
“It’s very disturbing because clearly there’s been a failure somewhere,” said Casey Corcoran, a sexual violence prevention director with the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center. The organization is focused on prevention, outreach, education and helping survivors heal.
“The first thing we need to do when somebody comes forward is believe them. That individual who had that experience, It takes so much courage to come forward,” said Corcoran when asked what should have happened when Carrie shared her experience.
Massage Envy touts its commitment to safety online, but according to lawsuits and the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, hundreds of women have claimed they have been victims of sexual assault at locations across the country. There are three open civil cases in Massachusetts.
Before Carrie’s lawsuit was filed, NBC10 Boston reached out to Massage Envy for comment. Massage Envy refused to comment on DaSilva and stated “We cannot comment on pending allegations or litigation involving any independently owned and operated franchised location.” Massage Envy told NBC10 Boston they are “committed to promoting a safe environment for members, guests and service providers.” They urge anyone who has not had a safe, quality experience to report it immediately.
Carrie shared, “I have a lot of anger. One that they allowed him access to me. And also that I tried so hard to warn them.”
“How could the pieces have fallen apart where he had access to a naked woman behind a closed door?” she questioned.
DaSilva’s lawyers have said that he maintains his innocence from day one. He has not been charged in Carrie’s case.
DaSilva was indicted for rape of the second woman at Massage Envy on June 7, 2021 and was still licensed to practice until his licensed expired three months later, on Aug. 28, 2021. NBC10 Boston has confirmed he no longer works at Massage Envy, although it is unclear when his employment ended. It is also unclear if he continued practicing massage while he was still licensed by the state. We have reached out to DaSilva, who has not responded to our calls.