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Crime And Courts

Bend police, FBI raid 3 Bend massage businesses in sex acts investigation

(Adding video, comments by Bend woman who fights human trafficking )

'This happens in every city across the country'

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – Bend police, assisted by the FBI, have raided three Bend massage businesses, part of a 2-year investigation of community complaints that sex acts were taking place at the businesses, officers said Wednesday. No suspects were found and no arrests made.

Bend police, in conjunction with the FBI, conducted state (not federal) search warrants Monday morning at the Jade Spa on Northeast Third Street, the Green Spa on Northeast Franklin Avenue and Lotus Spa on Southeast Third Street, Lt. Juli McConkey said.

Then, on Tuesday afternoon, police served another search warrant at a home in the 100 block of Southeast Taft Avenue, she said.

The raids resulted from an investigation that began in late 2018, focused on community complaints regarding sexual acts taking place at local massage parlors, McConkey said.

“During the investigation, officers with the Bend Police Problem-Oriented Policing Team were able to obtain information from several sources to corroborate those complaints,” McConkey said in a news release.

The FBI and Bend police were assisted by linguists to assist with communication, and resources were offered to the businesses' workers, who police termed victims in the case.

NewsChannel 21 spoke with In Our Backyard Executive Director Nita Belles, whose group has fought sex trafficking around the country for several years, to learn more about the issues of human trafficking in Central Oregon.

"Oftentimes, victims at massage parlors are attracted to the United States because of a promised job," Belles said. "They may have been promised a job at a restaurant, or an office job, but when they get here, the fact that they are not American citizens is held over their heads by their traffickers."

Belles called the raids a step in the right direction to combat sex trafficking in Central Oregon. But she said she believes it's more pervasive than just 3 locations in Bend.

Belles said it happens in every city across the country, but there are ways to help.

As of now, the suspects in the investigation were not located. No one was arrested during the raids, McConkey said, “and there is no intention of arresting any of the contacted people” during the raids.

The investigation continues, she said, declining to release any further information.

NewsChannel 21 attempted to contact the three businesses Wednesday but was unsuccessful.

Bend / Central Oregon / News / Top Stories

Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.

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Jack Hirsh

Jack Hirsh is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jack here.

Comments

29 Comments

      1. You sure about that? They aren’t claiming the legitimate massage income so the IRS could care less whether it’s moral or legal just whether it’s reported.

        1. There is nothing in this article pertaining to taxes and the IRS. The warrants were from the state, not the feds. Are you assuming or do you have first hand knowledge ?

  1. Sexual acts taking place at local massage parlors? I’m shocked.

    What a waste of law enforcement resources. As long as everyone was an adult, who cares?

    1. if someone is getting paid sexual services.. that is against the law.. not a waste of tax dollars. also irs purposes.. if they are using a business for illegal activities.. then that is a problem.

    2. Your business tax-loving governor… think she’d be happy if she found out people were thumbing their nose and taxes at her? Hell no… she’ll have the fed shoot you in the back for less

  2. As an LMT (Licensed Massage Therapist) working locally, I have a few concerns with this article.
    1) The use of the words “massage parlor” is grossly inappropriate. Using the word “parlor” ensues some type of sexual activity is taking place in said establishment. There are many legitimate establishments in Central Oregon offering massage as a therapeutic modality. LMT’s are healthcare professionals, not sex workers. We are highly educated in many subjects including ethics, which we are required to take continuing education in. We are licensed by our state board only after passing state board examinations and completing rigorous education requirements as mandated by the state of Oregon. Furthermore, we must all undergo a background check including fingerprinting by the state police.

    2) We are LMT’s. Not “massage parlor workers.” That phrasing points towards sex workers, which a true licensed therapist is not. We work hard and want to help our clients to heal themselves and achieve optimal health. Also, please don’t call us “masseuse.” That also point towards to sexuality.

    3) I believe there is a rising concern regarding counterfeit licenses for therapists. When seeing an LMT, please verify they have an original, current license and it is posted in his or her office.

    We all work hard to present our profession in the best way possible. It is so sad for all of us in this profession that people not only seek out these sexual acts in a legitimate business but also that therapists perform them.

      1. “Verbiage”. If you insist on wielding your censors pen with such broad strokes, the least you can do is use proper English in your own statements. “Verbiate” Is a very obscure term and not appropriate in this situation.

    1. Well, by your own words here, it seems that the terms “Massage Parlor” and “Massage Parlor Workers” were used accurately in this case. Maybe insulting to your business if used to describe your business. But these three businesses were allegedly massage parlors being used as sex businesses.

    2. Many customers of the named firms include difficulty communicating with their foreign-speaking service providers in their comments on Google. I expect most licensed massage therapists speak English quite well, so this might be a clue that these are something other than trained professionals.

  3. How horrible! Good thing marijuana is legal! Good thing we have riots that are promoted and encouraged by the governor! Good thing our state is fiscally incompetent!

  4. Trying to enforce the laws against prostitution is a huge waste of money and
    a losing battle. They have been fighting it for many many years, and they really
    haven’t accomplished anything… It’s very similar to the money and resources that
    were wasted for many years, trying to the growing, usage, and sale of marijuana…

    If Oregon was smart, they would stop wasting money fighting prostitution, and legalize
    it like Nevada, because the demand is never going to go away, and they will never stop it. They could collect millions in taxes. Just think of the money that they could dedicate to
    our schools that are chronically underfunded, and it would make it safer for everyone involved by controlling it…
    Of course if there is human trafficking or minors involved, then they need to dedicate
    all of their available resources…

    1. Legalize sex work and drugs. Regulate and standardize health and safety at all levels and tax accordingly. Support reproductive rights and watch the economy boom.

  5. Pretty easy way to stop this require them to be licensed and don’t allow them to use fake identities . The government encourages in this activity with these non citizen green card holders for some stupid reason they operate with a different set of trues than regular citizenry

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