Massage therapist to plead guilty in Massage Envy sex attacks

WASHINGTON — A former massage therapist charged with sexually assaulting two Massage Envy customers plans to plead guilty on Friday, according to the prosecution and defense.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Williams and defense attorney Sweta Patel filed a document with the judge saying Habtamu Gebreslassie will enter a guilty plea Friday morning, in D.C. Superior Court.

The lawyers would not specify what charge or charges 24-year-old Gebreslassie will plead guilty to. He is charged with attacking two women in August and September, and faces one count of first-degree sexual abuse of a patient or client, and one count of second-degree assault.

Two other women have come forward to accuse Gebreslassie — one in D.C. and one in Maryland — but he has not been charged in those cases.

A grand jury had been hearing evidence for several weeks.

Gebreslassie has been held without bond, after Judge Lynn Leibovitz denied the defense’s argument for bond, saying GPS or home monitoring “would do nothing to decrease his level of dangerousness.”

In an Oct. 16 bond hearing, Leibovitz said Gebreslassie could advertise and conduct business as a massage therapist anywhere, given “the portable nature” of the massage business,” which could result in another assault.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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