ORLAND PARK, IL — A woman is suing Ultimate Massage in Orland Park and a massage therapist who previously worked there after she said he groped her sexually. Another woman had previously filed a police report accusing the same former employee of also touching her without consent.
The Dudley & Lake law firm, which represents one of the unnamed woman, filed the lawsuit in Cook County circuit court on Feb. 26. The suit identifies the accused massage therapist as Matthew Gember and claims that on July 13, 2020, he engaged in sexual touching without consent while performing a massage on a female customer.
After the massage was over, the woman reported what happened to the owner of Ultimate Massage, Daniel Jonlich, who — according to the complaint — allowed Gember to continue working as a therapist at Ultimate Massage, located at 14325 S. LaGrange Road.
Patch called Ultimate Massage on Tuesday, and staff said Gember hadn’t worked there for four or five months.
The complaint goes on to allege that on Dec. 9, 2020, Gember preformed a massage on another woman — the one suing him — and touched her genitalia without her consent. As a result, the woman made an immediate outcry to owner, Jonlich, who told her to “write him an email,” about the incident, and handed her a business card, according to police reports.
That woman then reported the incident to Orland Park Police, and, Gember was charged with two counts of battery. He appeared in court on Feb 25, according to the lawsuit.
“The Orland Park Police could not charge Gember with Criminal Sexual Abuse because the statute, as written, does not allow it. That should be changed,” the woman’s attorney, Kevin J. Golden, said in a statement.
A Freedom of Information Act request revealed that on Dec. 9, Gember told police he was preforming a massage on a female customer, and when he asked her to turn on her stomach, he began massaging up the woman’s legs. Gember told police he was “closer than he should have been” to the woman’s vaginal region, but said he did not touch her vagina, according to a police report.
On Dec. 17, the woman went to the Orland Park Police Department to meet with officers. During an interview, she told officers that Gember was massaging her lower and upper buttock area in a way that caused her butt to jiggle, according to police reports. The woman said she thought it was weird, but didn’t say anything about it, noting that Gember had asked her a few times if what he was doing was OK, referring to the pressure of the massage.
The woman said she then turned over and exposed her right leg, allowing Gember to continue the massage. The woman said the sheet covered her from the side of her hip to her upper thigh, and told police Gember began to massage upward.
That’s when the woman said he slipped his hand into her underwear and began to grope her, asking her if she wanted him to “do it like that,” according to police reports.
The woman told him to stop, and Gember then moved his hands to her feet, apologizing, repeatedly, telling her he “had never done that before” and had “got the wrong impression,” police reports state.
The woman told him to get out of the room.
According to police reports, Gember told officers that at a previous masseuse job at another location, a third woman had complained he had touched her hips and glutes during a massage, but no police were involved in that incident.
He went on to say of the December incident, he was aware of where his hands were at all times, repeating that knew he was “close” to the “crevice below her pelvis,” but saying he never went under the sheet. Gember told police he did not touch the woman’s vagina, and told the woman he was “trying to give her a professional massage,” noting that he understands she was uncomfortable, police reports state.
On March 11, police sought felony charges against Gember, but they were denied “due to the crimes not meeting the elements of any felony sex offense.” Police reports state that the case remains closed, with Gember being previously charged with battery.
Golden told Patch the civil case against Gember is still pending at this time.