HAVERHILL — State and local police have been watching a local massage parlor for more than a year and a half because of complaints that sexual favors were being sold there, investigators said.
State troopers and the FBI raided the business June 30, 2010, police said. The raid came to light as two women charged with offering sex there were arraigned yesterday in Haverhill District Court.
The investigation of Ta Nui Bodyworks at 800 Broadway led to the Jan. 12 arrests of: Jinghui Liu, 28, of 10 Perkins Court, who is charged with sexual conduct for a fee and keeping a house of prostitution; and Rong Chen, 48, of the same address, who is charged with sexual conduct for a fee and indecent assault and battery.
The two women pleaded not guilty in Haverhill District Court yesterday.
No details about the June 2010 police raid on the massage parlor were available.
Local police said they had received numerous complaints about patrons going to a business that advertised massages. A website for Tui Na Bodyworks promised "happy endings" and "exotic Asian massage," according to investigators.
The massage parlor appeared to be out of business as of Sunday, police Deputy Chief Donald Thompson said.
Liu and Chen were arrested the evening of Jan. 12 when detectives visited the massage parlor, according to a police report filed with the court.
That night, Chen inappropriately touched an undercover officer while performing a massage on him, police said. When the officer recoiled at Chen's inappropriate touching, she said, "Is this your first time here? Your time is almost up, OK?'' according to a police report.
Investigators said they discovered a used condom on the floor of one of the rooms during the Jan. 12 visit. They also found items in two massage rooms that would not be needed at a legitimate massage parlor, police said.
Chen started to cry when the detectives found the used condom, according to their report. They also noted that when calls were made to the parlor, Chen and Liu did not schedule appointments, as would be the usual case at a legitimate health-related business.
Before the Jan. 12 visit, detectives watching the premises noted a steady flow of customers — all of them men, police said.
At yesterday's arraignment, Judge Stephen Abany ordered both Liu and Chen to return to court Feb. 24, at which time they will decide whether to be tried before a six-member jury or entrust a judge with deciding their verdict.
Abany permitted them to remain free on their own recognizance. Attorney Scott Gleason of Haverhill is representing them.
Authorities delayed the arraignment until yesterday so they could arrange to have a Mandarin Chinese interpreter present. Gleason said he was able to communicate with one of the defendants, so he could adequately represent them during the arraignment. He asked that an interpreter be at the court for the Feb. 24 hearing.
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