Spa Faces Lawsuit Over Sexual Assault

A woman has filed against Essentials Day Spa and a former employee for sexually assaulting her during a massage

October 5, 2007

By: Christina Kristofic

A Bucks County woman who was sexually assaulted during a massage at Essentials Salon and Day Spa in Doylestown has brought a civil suit against the spa’s owners and the former employee who assaulted her. The suit, filed by Doylestown attorney Kevin Handy, claims the woman has “experienced severe physical and emotional pain, suffering humiliation and embarrassment” as a result of the assault and asks for at least $50,000 in damages. The woman, whose identity is being withheld by The Intelligencer, got a full- body massage Oct. 28, 2005, from Gary Nabedrik. She had one previous massage from Nabedrik, which she told police was uneventful. During the Oct. 28 massage, Nabedrik fondled the woman. The victim told the police she felt uneasy and, when the touching became more aggressive, was unable to move or say anything. Ultimately, she told him to stop and covered herself with a sheet and Nabedrik left the massage room. Doylestown police filed criminal charges of aggravated indecent assault and indecent assault, to which Nabedrik pleaded guilty. Nabedrik, 41, of Warminster, was sentenced to seven years of probation and required to participate in a sex offender treatment program. He is prohibited from having contact with the woman.

Spa owner Jacquelynn McKay told police she had a complaint about another incident in which Nabedrik inappropriately touched a client, according to the affidavit of probable cause. However, an attorney for the spa and its owners say McKay did not tell police that. The woman says in her suit that the spa owners knew or should have know that Nabedrik had “dangerous or improper proclivities” and had acted on them, and they were negligent for not firing Nabedrik or controlling him and his urges. The spa owners also failed to warn customers about Nabedrik and complaints against him, the suit says. Grace Deon, the attorney for Essentials Salon and Day Spa and its owners said that she not yet seen a copy of the complaint, but disagreed with its characterization of events. “Essentials just celebrated being in business for 10 years,” she said. “They have never before had a situation of an employee of theirs committing a criminal act towards a client.” Deon said McKay and coowner Elliott Levitan only learned about Nabedrik’s behavior when the police came to the spa to interview him about the assault. “They were shocked as anybody about the whole thing,” she said. The spa owners suspended Nabedrik and fired him when formal charges were filed. Deon said McKay and Levitan regret what happened to the woman, but do not believe they are responsible. “We take client safety very seriously,” Deon said. “We follow proper procedures. We’re very fastidious and this no exception.”