Marion Police Aim to Curb Future Illegal Activity at Massage Parlors
By Jill Kasparie, Reporter
MARION, Iowa - Some changes are in the works for massage parlors in Marion.
This comes after police were tipped off that some were offering more than massages. Back in October, Marion Police arrested two women for prostitution at Asian Massage and Massage Heaven. Two others were also arrested at those establishments after the department conducted compliance checks on the massage parlors.
"After the instances that we had with the prostitution charges in the massage parlors, we just thought the city ordinance needed a little more work,” said Marion Police Department’s Lt. Scott Elam.
With the city attorney's help, police added new requirements for people applying to run a massage parlor in Marion. Every therapist needs to provide documentation of a state license before getting the city's approval.
The ordinance reads: “If there is no state licensed therapist, no license shall be issued under this Chapter of the Code of Ordinances.”
"The way it was written before, there was no requirement to have a state license in order to get the city license,” Lt. Elam said.
Lorice Amlin lives in Marion. She has been a licensed massage therapist for twenty years.
"You could actually harm someone if you are not trained properly,” Amlin said.
She said she's been working a long time to fight the stereotype a few bad massage businesses can bring to the industry. Now, she's thankful for the city's proposed changes.
"As a licensed massage therapist, we welcome the licensing and the regulation because it provides protection for the consumer,” Amlin said.
Investigators said the ordinance is one more way to prevent any more illegal activity.
"The problem wasn't huge here, and I think we've dealt with it, but we just wanted to make that sure we didn't have problems with it in the future," Lt. Elam said.
The Marion City Council will begin discussing the changes Thursday night at its city council meeting. It will take three readings for the ordinance to pass.
The city attorney believes most Marion massage businesses currently have legitimate, licensed therapists.
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