MASSAGE VS “MASSAGE”
A legitimate massage usually involves a comfortable massage table, some essential oils, aromatherapy, and perhaps some therapeutic hot stones (see above). Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Well, what if I told you that, at any given time, dozens of significantly more questionable massage parlors were operating in Central Ohio, with a far more elicit (if not illegal) offering of “services”? And what if I also told you that such “services” could land you in a lot of trouble, even if you’re lured in under false pretenses?
YOU’LL NEED A CRIMINAL ATTORNEY
Some of these “parlors” are legitimate businesses. And some are not. And you may not know the difference until it’s too late and the law has already been violated. Should you find yourself in this situation, do not delay: Contact an experienced criminal lawyer from Yavitch & Palmer right away. And here’s why.
COLUMBUS IS CRACKING DOWN
A few high-profile cases in the past year are proof that local law enforcement has been (and will continue) keeping an eye on massage establishments for illegal activity. Last year, authorities raided businesses in Powell, Delaware, and Franklin County in connection with a suspected human trafficking and prostitution ring. The owner of the parlors, a woman from the Northwest side of Columbus, pleaded guilty to charges after an investigation that crossed several branches of law enforcement, including Homeland Security, caught on to her act. Businesses with names like “Happy Fingers Spa” are sure to get the attention of the authorities.
BUT IT’S NOT ALWAYS THAT OBVIOUS
More recently, a massage parlor that popped up in Reynoldsburg with the more innocent name of Cai Spa got the attention of local police. The parlor, which opened in January, was already under surveillance by undercover cops in February (just a month later). While prostitution was highly suspected, the authorities weren’t able to prove the case — so they had the establishment closed down for alleged zoning violations.
Cops are keeping a close eye on massage businesses. The parlors in question are usually nondescript, often located in strip malls, and tend to show up in more affluent suburbs. That’s right. Just because you’re not in a “bad neighborhood” doesn’t mean you’re not at risk.
YOU’RE LIKELY TO GET CAUGHT (EVEN IF YOU’VE DONE NOTHING WRONG)
With heightened levels of police attention, it’s more important than ever to do your research. Make sure the massage parlor you’re patronizing is one of high repute and of the utmost legitimacy. If you’ve made an error in judgment, it’s easy to get caught. And even if your intentions are honorable, the situation can escalate before you even realize what has happened. Maybe you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, but that’s not always easy to prove on your own.
Under Ohio revised code, it’s illegal to solicit a person for sex or sexual activity. Therefore, if you are a caught patronizing any such establishment, even by mistake, it is highly possible that you will be charged with solicitation, usually a third-degree misdemeanor under Ohio law, carrying a maximum sentence of 60 days in jail (there is no mandatory minimum sentence). However, if you’re charged under Columbus code, you may be facing a first-degree misdemeanor — and up to 180 days in jail.
WE ARE HERE TO HELP
We aren’t here to judge. We know people can slip up, and that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve expert legal advice. If you find yourself on the wrong side of a solicitation charge, call the office of Yavitch & Palmer right away. You can speak with one of our experienced criminal lawyers about the specifics of your case and receive the quality counsel you deserve. In some cases, it is even possible to have a previous charge of this nature expunged from your record. Give us a call at 614-224-6142 or use our online contact form today.