ST. GEORGE – Last week four woman who were among those caught up in a sweep of area massage parlors by police earlier this year resolved their cases in court.
Shammai Olstead, Yuhua Liu, Yuxoang Wang and Li Ying each pleaded guilty in 5th District Court Thursday to class A misdemeanors for working as unlicensed massage therapists.
The women were not present in the courtroom at the time and entered their pleas through their lawyer, Aric Cramer. He said they have each gone back to California where they are properly licensed to work as massage therapists.
The pleas are being held in abeyance for 24 months after which time the women can ask the court to dismiss the charges provided they have upheld the conditions of the plea in abeyance agreement during that time.
However, Cramer said his clients can have their cases reviewed in a year for a possible early dismissal.
The women were also each ordered by the court to pay a $750 fee.
The charges stem from a two-day sweep of four area massage parlors between – Japan Massage, Golden Coast Massage, Massage Therapy and Dixie Massage – Jan. 10-11. The sweeps were the result of a police investigation into accusations of sexual solicitation made at the parlors. The sweep resulted in the arrest of around eight women, as well as one of the message parlor owners a month later.
However, since that time, charges of sexual solicitation for at least two of the women have been dismissed.
Yuzoang had been charged with a misdemeanor for sexual solicitation for allegedly offering sexual favors to an undercover police officer in exchange for money visiting Gold Coast Massage, according to police records. Again, that charge has been dismissed.
“I just didn’t see that the evidence was there,” Cramer said concerning the dismissed charge. He took that concern to the Washington County Attorney’s Office and was able to have the charge removed.
For Yoxuang and the three other women Cramer represented, their cases became licensure issues and nothing more.
“I have to give props to the (Washington) County Attorney’s Office,” he said. “They saw the evidence and did the right thing.”
As for the women being caught up in the massage parlor sweep, Cramer said he felt “it was much ado about nothing.”
Prior to the cases for Cramer’s clients resolving, Feng Fang Li and Dong Ju Jin, who had worked at Dixie Massage, had their cases reach a resolution during a March 1 court hearing. Jin pleaded guilty to being an unlicensed massage therapist, while Li’s charges for being an unlicensed massage therapist and alleged sexual solicitation were dismissed by the court.
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