Chulalak Ratsabouth, 28, of Plymouth has been charged in connection to alleged sexual activities at a Woodbury massage parlor. Photos courtesy of the Washington County jail.
Business owners on Hudson Road in Woodbury became suspicious of a new massage business in the area this spring, after a woman was spotted accepting a FedEx delivery wearing lingerie and heels.
Police received phone calls regarding Woodbury Oriental Massage at 7700 Hudson Road and were called to the business on a report of a sexual assault. An all-out investigation followed.
Now one employee and one customer have been charged in connection with alleged sexual activities.
Police say this isn't owner Par Herrity's first brush with allegations of prostitution, though she has not been charged.
"We don't believe at this point she will be. We haven't been able to connect her to actual promoting of prostitution," said Woodbury police Cmdr. Jay Alberio. "But we keep a pretty close eye on (the business) and will do follow-ups. We do plenty of drive-bys and do park in the parking lot."
Messages seeking comment from Herrity were not immediately returned Wednesday.
In court documents related to eviction proceedings this spring, Herrity and another owner of the massage business denied that any illegal activity was occurring, "despite the fact that certain 'undesireable (sic) persons' have entered, requesting sexual favors....(They) are a common problem for most, if not all, massage businesses."
The website for the business says it offers deep-tissue, light-touch, Swedish, many hands and Oriental touch fusion massages.
Initial reports from concerned neighbors came in March. A Woodbury officer who took the reports recognized Herrity's name because she lost her lease at 6053 Hudson Road in Woodbury for allegedly engaging in prostitution, according to an application for a search warrant filed in Washington County District Court.
The lease for the new location began April 1.
Police were called there April 10 on a report of a possible assault.
A female massage therapist, who was not identified in court documents, told officers she had been sexually assaulted by a customer during a massage session.
The customer, Houa Lor, 20, of St. Paul, told police "a friend had told him that there was a business where they could meet women and engage in sexual acts," according to a criminal complaint. "The defendant stated that his friend told him that as long as you pay, 'you can pretty much do anything you want to the other person.' "
He admitted to pulling the massage therapist down on top of him and forcefully kissing and groping her, according to the complaint. The woman said she was fearful Houa Lor would seriously hurt or kill her.
The Washington County attorney's office charged him with two felony counts of criminal sexual conduct.
Following the alleged assault, officers began questioning employees. One told them that a client of a massage therapist who used the name "Victoria" became angry and left when she told him she would not provide sexual services. He returned hours later for an appointment with Victoria, the unnamed employee said.
On April 14 and 21, undercover officers went to the business posing as customers, each requesting a session with Victoria, and each receiving more than a typical back massage.
Victoria turned out to be Chulalak Ratsabouth, 28, of Plymouth. She was charged with gross misdemeanor engaging or soliciting prostitution in a public place.
Phone numbers for Ratsabouth and Houa Lor could not be found Wednesday.
The owner of the building where Woodbury Oriental Massage rents space launched eviction proceedings in late April, saying he was misled into believing the business would be a spa for "church ladies" and had been operated out of a home, according to court documents.
The owner cited online ads and reviews suggesting that illegal activity was going on.
In their response, Woodbury Oriental Massage owners said they had not consented to or paid for advertising on sites promoting erotic massage. They said they had been "working with an attorney to have the link to their business removed from (one) website...(because) it is this distasteful website that is the origin for any unsavory persons entering the Subject Premises for the purpose of requesting sexual acts."
The landlord and the business reached a settlement in the eviction proceedings, and the massage studio remains in business.
In documents related to the case, Herrity and another owner say they were not evicted from their previous location but left because the business needed more space.
Elizabeth Mohr can be reached at 651-228-5162.