A spa in Franklin, WI, and a spa in Mount Joy, PA, have been closed this week on prostitution charges. The incidents are unrelated but draw attention to those working with home massage kits masquerading as businesses.
Franklin’s Shuying Ding has been charged with a felony, according to court papers, for disguising prostitution with a spa. The charge comes after several of Ding’s neighbors reported unusual traffic at her King Sunshine Spa, which is located near 27th Street and Rawson Avenue.
“We never saw any women going in there. It was always middle-aged men,” said Jennie Dingman, who works next door.
Those living and working around the spa decided to move forward with complaints to the police after finding ads proclaiming that the spa offered “sexy relaxation.”
Following these complaints, police sent a woman into the spa to inquire what services they provided. She was given a vague statement of “$60 per hour” from the man at the counter, with no additional information. He also wrote a phone number on a sheet of paper and gave it to the woman.
The incidents in question in the criminal complaints took place in March and October of this year. In each instance, an undercover officer was sent into the spa for a massage. Both encounters ended with female spa employees attempting to arouse the men they were massaging.
Also included within the complaints are ads that were found on Backpage.com, which featured young Asian females with the taglines, “Try heavenly side of sexy relaxation” and “Sweet hot all new girls, 100% real.”
After evidence was gathered, police raided the spa with a search warrant, finding a ledger that gave details on their extra services. Ding admitted to police that she had owned the spa for about a year, and that it was a legal spa in the city of Franklin.
While the investigation is not over, officials say Ding could face up to 10 years behind bars if she were convicted. They may also bring prostitution charges against the spa workers.
Just days after the story broke in Franklin, a Mount Joy, PA, woman was also arrested for prostitution at a home spa. She, however, maintains that the only thing she did wrong was operate a massage business without a license.
“It was massages with free fun after work,” said Crystal Sweigart, the spa owner. “Being labeled as a prostitute isn’t what I was doing. I was giving pleasure without expecting any money.”
She has been charged with a misdemeanor for prostitution, and was arrested on Nov. 24. She has since been released after posting a $2,500 bail.
Officials say that she was making about $400 a day from her Hopewell Street home. Using a home massage kit, she masqueraded as a masseuse but was also selling sex.
“I sat there and ran a massage business out of my home, without a license, I have to admit,” Sweigart said. “My act wasn’t prostitution. When they came here, people were here for the massage.”
This was another case uncovered after neighbors complained about unusually high traffic in and out of the home. Police have questioned two people so far, who have both admitted to paying for sex from Sweigart.