EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

June 11, 2013

Spa owner charged with prostitution

Police say she also videotaped clients in sexual acts

By Jill Harmacinski

---- — LAWRENCE — A Salem, N.H., woman with a previous prostitution conviction was charged yesterday with running a house of prostitution and videotaping clients without their knowledge in her Broadway massage parlor named “The Day Spa for Gentlemen.”

Lori Barron, 50, of 20 Riversedge Drive is scheduled for arraignment today in Lawrence District Court on six felony counts, including maintaining a house of prostitution, deriving support from prostitution, unlawful wiretapping, extortion and photographing unsuspecting nude persons, police said.

It was unclear last night how many people Barron videotaped in various sexual acts with women working in the massage parlor, named The Day Spa for Gentlemen. Police have the names of some of the people videotaped but were not releasing them.

Yesterday, detectives searched Barron’s home and the business at 7 Broadway, seizing documents and computers, police said.

Police received information last Wednesday that Barron’s employees and clients “were engaging in more than just massage,” police Chief John Romero said.

Through numerous interviews, detectives learned Barron had women working in the massage parlor seven days per week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., police said. The women employed were not trained or licensed to perform massage, police said.

When clients came to the spa, they placed $100 cash in a basket Barron controlled, police said. In order to obtain sexual services, they had to pay another $100, a cut of which would be given to the worker involved, police said.

During a visit to the spa, Barron would also take the client’s identification and record who they were, police said. She routinely asked clients and those who called to book appointments if they were “affiliated with law enforcement,” according to investigators.

Police said Barron routinely hired women to work in the spa, first using them as receptionists and later moving them to jobs where they engaged in sexual acts with customers.

“They were advised they could make more money,” Romero said of the women offering sexual acts.

Barron paid her employees in cash and did not have employees fill out any tax paperwork, police said.

Barron initially set up her business at 599 Canal St., but later moved to the 7 Broadway location, police said. They said it’s unclear how long she has operated the business or how many clients were serviced there.

Barron was arrested yesterday in Salem, N.H., on a fugitive from justice charge. She waived extradition at her arraignment in Salem District Court and was immediately taken into custody by Lawrence police. Her attorney Thomas Torrisi declined comment after the arraignment.

In May 2011, Barron was convicted after she and another woman were arrested in Salem, N.H., investigation dubbed “Operation Bunny Ranch.”

Barron, then the owner of ETEA Weight Loss Spa at 282 Main St., was charged with felony and misdemeanor prostitution. An employee, Susan Choi, 29, of Derry, was charged with misdemeanor prostitution. Police raided that spa after receiving reports that sexual conduct was taking place at the end of massages at the spa. The massages were being performed by untrained and unlicensed masseuses after advertisements were placed on Craigslist.org and other classified advertising sites, investigators said.

During booking in Lawrence yesterday, Barron told police she was married. She said she was self employed as a business consultant.

Staff reporter Doug Ireland contributed to this story.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter under the screenname EagleTribJill.