Massage only, please...
Massage only, please...

Lawsuit: Massage Envy Trip Turned Into Sexual Assault in Laguna Beach

For one California woman, Mother's Day 2011 will always been remembered as a horrific nightmare after her massage therapist yanked down her underwear as well as his own and tried to mount her at Massage Envy in Laguna Beach.

That's the sensational accusation contained in a lawsuit filed this month by Jane Doe (we don't identify sex crimes victims by name) against the owners of the massage parlor and Mark Peregil Valenzon, the therapist.

"At first, the massage appeared to be progressing normally," claims Doe in the lawsuit. "But then, in the middle of the massage, I heard heavy breathing and the sound of clanking metal coming from Valenzon's belt."

Doe says that Valenzon, 35 and a Lake Forest resident, then "forcefully . . . pulled down" her underwear to her knees and, despite her screams, attempted to climb onto the table with her.

She fled the room "in shock and shaking with fear," according to the lawsuit.

Doe claims that her cries for help and requests to call police were ignored by Massage Envy personnel. She had to leave the business to call 911 herself.

"One of the officers who carried out the investigation later told Doe that upon questioning Valenzon admitted to sexually assaulting her," according to the lawsuit, which asserts that the incident has left Doe suffering intense anxiety, can't work and experiences nightmares.

Orange County Superior Court criminal records do not show that Valenzon has been charged with any crime in connection to the incident however.

But Susan Kang Schroeder at the Orange County District Attorney's office said, "We have the case logged in our office, but haven't filed charges yet."

Doe's civil lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, has been assigned to Judge James J. Di Cesare in the county's central courthouse in Santa Ana.

Scott J. Ferrell, Doe's Newport Beach attorney, told the Weekly that while Massage Envy "advertises itself as a safe place for women to relax and enjoy non-sexual massages," it hired "a criminal with a history of violent schizophrenia to massage young women in dark rooms."

John and Barbara Meeks, the massage parlor's owners who are named in the lawsuit, were not available for comment.

--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly


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