By ADAM FERRISE
BRACEVILLE - The massage parlor that authorities say was a front for prostitution has been shut down by its owners.
Tribune Chronicle / Raymond L. Smith
Signs, old beds and other items from the shuttered Four Seasons Health Spa were piled up outside the business Monday. The Braceville business was raided last week on claims it was a front for prostitution.
All signs were voluntarily removed by operators of the Four Seasons Health Spa over the weekend, and the inside was gutted, police said. The signs, old beds and other items were piled up outside the business Monday.
The woman identified as the spa's operator, Kay Owens, 63, 352 Blossom Ave., Canfield, posted $50,000 bond at her initial appearance Monday in Newton Falls Municipal Court on six counts of fourth-degree felony promoting prostitution. Owens entered no plea and is set for a preliminary hearing July 31.
Owens faces up to nine years in prison on the charges. She forfeited her passport and agreed to stay in the state as part of her bond conditions.
The six counts stem from statements made by paying customers, including five filed in the search warrant affidavit leading up to the July 3 raid on the 4300 state Route 5 spa and from a man who was caught by police engaged in sex acts with an employee during the raid. Owens also was inside the building at the time, police said.
Owens is the second person to be charged with working at the spa. Kyung Hee Lee, whose listed address is the spa, is facing a third-degree prostitution charge. A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesperson said Lee will face the charges in Newton Falls before deportation hearings begin, but she has yet to be arraigned.
Both women are South Korean, officials said.
Police are pursuing other charges and still investigating.
Officials have not yet filed any civil action in an attempt to permanently close the spa, but officers said the signs were removed, and the business is not operating.
Prosecutors in Newton Falls have filed a motion to freeze the Chase Bank account they believe the spa used to pay its employees and keep its money.
Court records show at least five customers, including one man who traveled from as far away as Montana, told authorities investigating the spa they paid around $150 for sex acts at the massage parlor.
An affidavit filed in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court said Braceville police conducted surveillance on the spa and pulled over at least one customer a day between June 25 and 29. The information provided by the five customers led to a search warrant.