Fort Worth

Woman sues Fort Worth Omni, saying massage went too far

The Omni Hotel in downtown Fort Worth.
The Omni Hotel in downtown Fort Worth. Star-Telegram archives

It was supposed to be a reward for a job well done.

But a 32-year-old orthodontic assistant says her overnight stay at the the luxurious Omni Fort Worth Hotel instead turned into a nightmare after a massage therapist repeatedly touched her sex organs during a massage.

“I was in shock and in a real compromising position because I’m naked underneath a blanket and trying to talk myself out of what happened,” the woman, who was staying at the hotel as part of an employee appreciation event, told the Star-Telegram. “This is a five-star place; they wouldn’t hire a guy [who] would do that.”

Now the woman, after filing a complaint with Fort Worth police on June 12, is suing the Omni and the masseur saying she was assaulted by offensive physical contact. She is seeking more than $1 million in damages, according to documents filed in court.

I was in shock and in a real compromising position because I’m naked underneath a blanket and trying to talk myself out of what happened.

the alleged victim

Fort Worth detectives are investigating an assault by contact, a Class C misdemeanor, but no citation has been issued, spokeswoman Tamara Valle said. The assault is punishable by up to a $500 fine.

The Star-Telegram, because of the nature of the alleged offense, is not naming the woman.

Josh Heidenreich, area managing director for the Omni, said in an email statement that the hotel “cannot comment as this is an ongoing investigation.”

The Texas Department of State Health Services, which monitors massage therapists, said it has not received any complaints about the masseur or the spa where he works, agency spokeswoman Christina Mann said.

Robert Luttrell, the woman’s attorney, said he called the Omni on Monday night before filing the lawsuit and posed as a client seeking to set up a session with the massage therapist. He said he was told that the man is on a leave of absence.

“As someone who has had a massage before, this is outrageous, especially for an establishment like the Omni,” Luttrell said.

The incident happened on June 4, according to a Fort Worth police report. The woman was staying at the Omni with co-workers as part of a staff appreciation day paid for by her employer. Beyond getting a room for the night, the employees could enjoy either a massage or a manicure/pedicure, she said.

After she undressed for her massage and lay facedown on a table under a blanket, the massage therapist entered the room and asked what areas she wanted worked on. She said she told him her neck area because of the way she bends her body while working on patients.

The masseuse began rubbing her back and arms and pulled the blanket away, exposing her buttocks and her “privates.” He asked if she had a boyfriend and that she should be treated “like the princess you are,” making her uncomfortable.

But the therapist began massaging her back and arms and then pulled the blanket away, exposing her buttocks and what the woman described as her “privates.” He asked if she had a boyfriend and said she should be treated “like the princess you are,” she said, making her uncomfortable.

During the session, the lawsuit states, the massage therapist patted her sex organs. The woman said she was in a state of shock, and her attorney said she didn’t know she could just walk out.

“At this point, I’m upset and I want out of there,” she said, so she told the man that she had to go to the restroom. She also heard her co-workers leaving. “I’m trying to get out of there as quickly as possible.”

She said she later talked to her co-workers about what had happened and said they encouraged her to talk to the manager. In response, the hotel offered her another free massage, she said.

Staff writer Deanna Boyd contributed to this report.

Max B. Baker: 817-390-7714, @MaxbakerBB

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