One massage case is settled trial sought in two 2 others

January 04, 1996|By Norris P. West | Norris P. West,SUN STAFF

The first case in an investigation of Howard County massage parlors was resolved in court yesterday, but a lawyer for two women charged with performing illegal sex acts in a related case has asked for a jury trial to scrutinize police conduct in the seven-month probe.

Jem Soon Price, 42, of Fulton agreed in District Court to forfeit her license to work as a massage technician for one year.

In exchange, the court placed her case on its inactive docket. The misdemeanor charge against her could be dropped in a year.

Ms. Price was giving massages without a license when police began an undercover investigation into the practices of county massage parlors, prosecutors said. She eventually obtained a county license, a requirement for those administering massages to members of the public unless they are trained as therapists or have certain other credentials.

The charge against her carried a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Sang Oh, an assistant state's attorney, said prosecutors have made similar offers to settle cases with all of the women, who face charges of giving massages without licenses or performing illegal sex acts.

Thirteen women were scheduled to stand trial yesterday, but 10 cases were postponed.

Clarke F. Ahlers, the attorney for the remaining two women, exercised his clients' right to a jury trial in Circuit Court. He said he wants officers to explain to a panel why it took seven months to complete the investigation, which was criticized by county lawyers and the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland.

Last April, police began investigating massage parlors in North Laurel, Ellicott City, Elkridge and Jessup.

Police supervisors told undercover officers that they could be the subject of sex acts, which are illegal under the county's massage parlor law, to gain evidence against employees.

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