Massage Envy therapist accused of sexual assault pleads guilty

Habtamu Gebreselassie (Photo courtesy of Gebreselassie's Facebook page)

A massage therapist for Massage Envy accused of sexually assaulting several women clients has pled guilty Thursday.

Habtamu Gebreslassie has pled guilty to sexually abusing or attempting to abuse three female clients, and faces between 1 1/2 and five years in prison, according to ABC7's Sam Ford.

Gebreslassie, 24, faced charges of first-degree sexual abuse of a patient or client and one count of second-degree assault for allegedly assaulting two women while working as a massage therapist at the Massage Envy in Tenleytown in Northwest Washington.

The attorney for Gebreslassie had planned to enter a guilty plea on Friday morning at D.C. Superior Court.

At least two other people, including one identified as a woman, have also accused Gebreslassie of sexual assault, though he has not been charged in either of those cases. Both of those incidents occurred at separate massage parlors – one at the Deluca Massage located at 2028 P Street in Northwest Washington and the other at 9300 Woodmore Center Drive in Lanham, Maryland.

Three women and an unidentified person have come forward and told authorities they were sexually assaulted by Gebreslassie.

The first woman to come forward with the accusations, spoke publicly on Nov. 27 and identified herself as Tara Woodley.

Woodley says she was speaking out after reports that more than 180 women have suffered with the spa, according to ABC7's Sam Ford.

Gebreslassie has been held without bond, and was arrested on Sept. 17. Police charged him with first-degree sexual abuse.

A $25 million lawsuit was filed against Massage Envy in late September accusing the company of covering up the alleged sexual assaults.

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