ST. CHARLES – A St. Charles Community Service Officer described an encounter at a massage business in which a therapist removed the towel from his genitals, squirted him with lotion and told him, “You do. You do.”
The officer, Ryan Beeter, working undercover to follow up on a complaint of suspected prostitution at Summer Spa Massage, 1550 E. Main St., St. Charles, testified Tuesday at the St. Charles Liquor Control Commission.
The business owner, Hong Shen, faces six citations of violating the city's massage license code relating to exposing or failing to conceal sexual or genital parts, having therapists who are not licensed, not having licenses displayed in the lobby, not having a manager on duty and not having a list of employees available for compliance checks.
Mayor Ray Rogina, acting as the Liquor Control Commissioner, said he has 10 to 14 days to issue a ruling on whether the spa would be fined, its license suspended or revoked.
Rogina denied a request by Shen’s attorney Kevin Wendorf, who asked that the charges be dismissed, alleging that the city’s regulations were unconstitutional.
'A special happy ending'
The 2 1/2 hour hearing included sometimes explicit testimony.
Cmdr. of Investigations Eric Majewski testified that the undercover investigation began as a follow up to an anonymous email alleging prostitution at Summer Spa Massage.
“The customer had been to the Summer Spa. Heard inappropriate noises in the next room,” Majewski said. “This person … asked his masseuse what it was. And she told him that it was, quote, ‘a special happy ending.’ This prompted the customer to make a complaint with the city of alleged prostitution at the Summer Spa.”
Beeter was sent in undercover to see if any of the therapists would agree to a sex act, Majewski testified.
Beeter testified that he asked for a “special service” from a therapist named Sheshe on Oct. 16 and was told to make an appointment with her for another time – which he did.
Beeter went back on Oct. 25 and again propositioned Sheshe, but she said no, he testified.
“She lifted the towel off from my genital area, went and retrieved some type of lotion, (and) put it on me. She said, ‘You do. You do,’” Beeter said. “She squirted it on my genitalia. I asked her for hand manipulation. She said no.”
Beeter testified that he did not ask her to remove the towel, nor to put lotion on him.
“It was your understanding that it was her intent to have you pleasure yourself,” the city’s prosecuting attorney Patrick Crimmins asked.
“Yes,” Beeter said.
“Did you, in fact, do that?” Crimmins asked.
“No,” Beeter said. “It’s inappropriate.”
Beeter testified he went back twice to see if the therapists would provide any illicit acts.
On Nov. 8, he propositioned another therapist, identified as Lida.
“She said no ... but that I could touch her and pleasure myself,” Beeter testified. “She tried to place my hand on her butt and breasts. … I pulled my hand back.”
In a separate action, the two massage therapists were charged with giving massages without a state license, officials said.
Certifications, business records
Det. Timothy Ocasek said when police returned to Summer Spa Massage to check for licenses, they also found that among the building’s seven rooms, two were considered residential with bedroom and kitchen areas.
Ocasek also testified that police found a business license from St. Charles that was posted, an expired state license for Shen.
Officers looked for certifications and licenses on the wall for current employees but could not find any that were valid, Ocasek said.
Ocasek testified that he found one valid state license posted on the wall – but no one knew who this employee was.
Ocasek also testified that officers could not find any records of customers or payments, no appointment book, no written business records of any kind.
Ocasek said he found certificates from the Asian Bodywork Therapies for Summer Spa’s employees. When he investigated further with the agency in Chicago that provides the certifications, he found that the owner would require candidates to read a three- to four-page pamphlet and then issue the certificates for $300.
"There is no requirement other than $300 and read the pamphlet,” Ocasek testified.
"My client said this did not happen"
Using an interpreter, Shen testified that she got her Illinois massage license in 2014 and bought Summer Spa Massage in 2016. She testified that her license is current, she just did not have it posted on the wall.
Wendorf said anyone with a cell phone can check with the state to see if a massage therapist’s license is current.
Shen testified that she brought the Asian Bodywork Therapies certificates of Lida and Sheshe to the city.
“Did you ask the city if they could work at your spa as massage therapists?” Wendorf asked.
“City hall told me once the girl is fingerprinted, she can become a manager,” Shen testified through the interpreter.
Shen testified that she did not believe the acts Beeter described occurred, but if they did, she would fire them immediately.
Shen testified that she has business records but no one asked for them.
In closing arguments, Wendorf said despite several attempts by Beeter, none of the massage therapists agreed to perform any sex acts.
As to the acts Beeter described with Sheshe and Lida, Wendorf said, “We have no testimony except from the officer. … My client said this did not happen.”
Crimmins said Shen was perpetuating a fraud on the commission.
“It turns out she does not need an interpreter,” Crimmins said. “She can handle her business. She can talk to the city about her business. She can talk to the police department.”
Crimmins said not keeping business records is consciousness of guilt.
“That she does not have records of any indication of customers or anything else is a red flag to this commission that the business of this spa is not legitimate.”