Shelton spa settles sex assault suit
A Shelton spa at the center of more than a half-dozen sexual assault complaints agreed Thursday, June 27, to pay a settlement to an alleged Stratford assault victim.
Cocco Spa of Shelton, which is on Bridgeport Avenue, agreed to pay a settlement as the civil case was being prepared for trial in Superior Court in Bridgeport.
The terms of the settlement were kept confidential by agreement of the parties.
Arthur Laske III, who represents the Stratford woman, declined comment. A woman who identified herself as the spa’s manager but refused to give her name had no comment on the settlement.
Hyung Kim, 56, who worked at the spa as a masseuse, is being sought by police after being charged with eight counts of fourth-degree sexual assault and eight counts of working as an unlicensed masseuse in 2016.
Police said the Stratford woman was one of eight who claimed they were sexually assaulted by Kim at the spa. Police said Kim fled the area after being released on $40,000 bond while he was awaiting trial in Superior Court in Derby.
In the lawsuit filed in Superior Court in Bridgeport against Kim and the spa, the 36-year-old Stratford woman, whose name is being withheld by Hearst Connecticut Media, states that Kim, a Korean citizen, sexually assaulted her on May 27, 2016, while she was at the Coco Spa.
“Our claim is that this company hired an individual who was unlicensed and didn’t supervise him and the result is that he used this business as a tool to assault woman,” Laske told Hearst Connecticut Media when the lawsuit was filed.
The lawsuit states that the woman went to the spa and was directed to a room for a massage by Kim who was introduced as a license massage therapist. Kim began to massage the woman’s back, asking her if she had a boyfriend.
The suit states that he prodded her to remove her underwear in his supposed effort to massage her sciatic area but once she did he groped her breasts and made unwanted contact with her genital area.
When Kim ceased his unwanted sexual touching of the woman she attempted to quickly get dressed, the suit states. However, Kim told the woman she needed to stretch and without her consent he pushed her over the massage table and pulled her leg upward, and she only got him to stop touching her by telling him she needed water, the suit alleges.
“The unwanted physical and sexual touching perpetrated by the defendant Kim was shocking to the plaintiff, caused her great anxiety and fear, and made her feel physically and emotionally violated, disgusted, traumatized and powerless,” the suit states.