Oakdale Police arrested a 54-year-old Asian masseuse for solicitation for prostitution on Thursday, May 14, after conducting an undercover operation at Island Spa located at 730 East F St.
Oakdale Police Sergeant Joe Johnson stated an undercover operative entered the business in the afternoon and paid the posted price for a one hour massage. During the course of the massage, the operative was propositioned by the masseuse for a sex act.
Johnson said the operative was “wired” to record the transaction to gather evidence for the investigation.
“When she made the offer she whispered,” Johnson said. “They seem to be very careful when it comes to that point.”
After the solicitation, police arrested Sun Seo Sun, 54, of Galt, for a misdemeanor charge of solicitation of prostitution. She was later booked at Stanislaus County Jail.
Sgt. Johnson said during the incident there was only one other employee in the building and they closed on their own accord after the arrest.
The police action comes on the heels of a complaint to the City of Oakdale filed last month by Arlin and Tammy Nusbaum of Nature’s Rx which had been located across the drive from Island Spa. When the Nusbaums moved their vitamin and natural food business to the same complex as Island Spa in 2013, they noticed a significant drop in business due customers who felt intimidated by “a brothel” in the area and the seedy clientele associated with Island Spa. The Nusbaums requested the Oakdale Police to take action to close the business, but never saw any action taken.
On April 29, The Leader published an article exposing the suspected prostitution activities by Island Spa when its reporter went into the facility for a massage and was solicited by a worker.
Oakdale Police Chief Lester Jenkins said however that the Island Spa and its suspected illegal activities has been a focus of the department even prior to the Leader article.
“We’ve been working diligently to get them out of there,” said Jenkins, who’s had meetings with the property owner. “I’ve been trying to persuade her to evict them in addition to having investigators coordinate an operation at the spa.”
Chief Jenkins said he would be approaching the city council to institute an emergency ordinance for a 45-day temporary ban on new massage parlors from opening and existing ones from expanding or relocating because of concerns and complaints over the activities of these businesses associated with prostitution and human trafficking.
“The 45 days will give the city time to revise and update its current ordinance,” Chief Jenkins said.
An Assembly Bill that passed the first of this year now gives California cities and counties more control over these parlors, including using zoning and land ordinances and restrictions for determining their locations.
The bill was in response to a previous 2009 law that established the California Massage Therapy Council, a nonprofit charged with issuing voluntary permits for all massage therapists, and also prohibited cities from restricting licensed massage parlors and technicians. A loophole in that law made it difficult for cities to regulate massage parlors and close ones suspected of illegal activity.