Massage parlors are often a natural target for undercover authorities looking to make a bust for illicit sexual activities. In New York and elsewhere, oriental massages are advertised and marketed with images of attractive masseuses and relaxing reveries for the customer. Sometimes it’s not easy to distinguish whether the services advertised are strictly legitimate or whether they may potentially cross the line into becoming criminal sex offenses.
The main criminal offenses charged in connection with massage parlor arrests are prostitution and related crimes. Additionally, in New York and most places, a massage therapist needs a license to administer treatments. It is common for the authorities to arrest anyone advertising and giving massages who is not licensed.
In a recent massage parlor bust, an undercover cop was apparently testing the legitimacy of a certain establishment on East 23rd Street and Lexington Avenue on Aug. 14. According to the masseuse, the man asked for masturbation to finish off a massage. The officer alleges that the 29-year-old woman haggled on the price and finally settled for $30.
He arrested her for prostitution. The manager of the establishment told reporters that the masseuse did nothing wrong, that she does not speak English, and that the parlor does not do prostitution. There were reportedly several more officers waiting outside to assist in the bust. Defense counsel may develop that point as part of a theme of overreaching by the police.
After all, there’s plenty of true crime in New York City, without having to devote valuable resources to the questionable sex offenses charged in this matter. Besides the suspect, three other women were charged with giving massages without a license. If the customer actively solicited and urged the extra services, an acquittal or negotiated reduction of the charges may be possible, depending ultimately on the totality of the circumstances that have occurred.
Source: New York Post, “Spa worker named Dong arrested over happy ending massage“, Natasha Velez and Natalie O’Neill View, Aug. 22, 2014