Member of San Francisco Health Club Bars after reporting sexual assault – CBS San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – A man claims he was sexually assaulted at a health club in San Francisco, who then tried to cover it up by canceling his membership after calling the police.
The assault allegedly took place a few months ago at the Equinox Sports Club on Market Street.
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Colin Heilbut says he has done approximately 1,000 hours of yoga in his lifetime. But he says that at Equinox he had a yoga lesson he will never forget.
âAs soon as we walked in he asked me to spread my legs against the wall,â Heilbut said. “This is unrelated to any yoga pose I have ever done.”
Heilbut said a yoga teacher named Kevin Nguyen suddenly became interested in him in August.
First, he says there was inappropriate contact that happened in the classroom.
To ???? He cupped my testicles. And I didn’t see it coming and I wasn’t sure what to think, Ã¢ ???? Heilbut said. “But I didn’t think it was anything more than a horrible accident either.”
Heilbut said that when Nguyen offered her private lessons after class, the touching turned into sexual assault. He said Nguyen very selectively chose poses that involved an unnecessary amount of physical contact.
A letter he wrote to Equinox states: âThere was unwanted contact of my genitals and buttâ¦ unwanted body massageâ¦ unusually prolonged physical contact.
âThat’s when I noticed, I guess, what I would describe as a bulge in his pants,â Heilbut said.
And then he says Nguyen made a sound. âFaint, almost a moderate moan – like he’s trying not to get it but couldn’t help it – that I would associate with an orgasm,â ???? Heilbut said.
Nguyen told KPIX 5 that the allegations were unfounded.
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Heilbut complained to Equinox and filed a police report. He said police warned him that it would be difficult to prosecute, even though surveillance video captured the yoga lesson.
âThe sergeant said the actions he saw on camera reflected some incredibly unprofessional and bizarre activities of this instructor,â Heilbut said.
Police also told Heilbut that Nguyen was fired, but refused to press charges against him.
That’s when Equinox called and dealt Heilbut another blow.
Heilbut said the gym told him, âYou are banned from the gym. We have decided to terminate your membership.
HeilbutÃ¢ lawyer, civil rights lawyer Larry Organ, says this is a classic retaliation case.
Organ said, âYou can’t blame the victim. And that is exactly what they are doing. This is the purpose of the hashtag movement # MeToo.Ã¢ ????
Heilbut has filed a complaint demanding that Equinox “better train staff on appropriate responses to sexual harassment” and “stop terminating memberships of people who complain of sexual harassment.”
In a statement, Equinox said police and their internal officials “have investigated these allegations and found them to be unfounded. We intend to vigorously defend ourselves against the allegations in the trial.”
But Heilbut says he’s since heard of another lawsuit and several other complaints against Equinox that he says indicate a trend.
“Equinox supports sexual assault by creating this culture, by having this policy of punishing anyone who speaks out”, ???? Heilbut said.
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The San Francisco Human Rights Commission is also investigating these allegations.