City to Sue Spas for Promoting Prostitution

9-14-05 - Powered by a new state law, the Dallas city attorney's office has sued five spas, bathhouses and tanning salons for promoting prostitution and giving rubdowns without a license.

The new law, which took effect Sept. 1, expands the definition of a massage business and allows cities to file for injunctions against facilities that don't comply with regulations, City Attorney Tom Perkins said.

With the new rules, police have the authority to inspect a massage business to ensure it follows the rules and has a license. Before, the authority was limited to state regulators.

"It gives the city a mechanism to more quickly and more effectively stop businesses that are masquerading as legitimate businesses," Perkins said.

On Monday, the city obtained temporary restraining orders against the Swedish Institute for the Physical Health, Yokohama Body Bath, Sun's Tanning Studio and Sauna, and Choice One Spa. On Tuesday, it obtained an order against June's Tan and Sauna.

Dallas police have inspected seven businesses since the new law took effect and arrested 17 people, said vice unit Lt. Michael Carew.