CHARLESTON - A class action lawsuit has been filed against the owner of a massage therapy salon after he allegedly videotaped patrons as they undressed.
The suit, filed June 6 in Kanawha Circuit Court, is against Richard "Rico" Filbin, 52, a licensed massage therapist and the owner of Body and Soul Massage Therapy. The suit, filed by attorney John H. Tinney Jr., names Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2, on behalf of themselves and others situated, as plaintiffs.
According to the suit, Filbin secretly videotaped clients, including minors, from abou 2001 to 2006 at his Cross Lanes business and his St. Albans home. The suit claims the plaintiffs became aware of Filbin's actions when he was arrested May 30.
Filbin was arrested May 31 by the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department after a six-month investigation. He was charged with 114 counts of criminal invasion of privacy.
According to the suit, Filbin placed a concealed recording device in the area where the massage clients undressed, dressed and received massages.
"Of the 114 instances uncovered thus far, police have identified 15 female victims from the tapes seized pursuant to the defendant's arrest. Police further estimate that there are at least 50 additional victims," the suit says.
At least one victim was under the age of 14 and another girl who was 17 at the time she was filmed.
"All contained footage shows breasts, nipples or genital areas being exposed," the suit says.
The plaintiffs were filed as Jane Does because of the media attention the case has received, to protect their privacy.
The class seeks relief for invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence.
"Based on what has only thus far been uncovered, these films made clandestinely by the defendant reveal the most private physical regions of the representative plaintiffs' and class members' bodies," the suit says.
In the three-count suit, members of the class seek compensatory damages for injuries to their physical, mental and psychological well-being and punitive damages to punish Filbin for his actions.
Filbin's massage license has since been suspended by the West Virginia Massage Therapy Licensure Board. His license will remain suspended pending a disciplinary hearing.