STUART, FL (December 14, 2019) — Two former employees of the Bridge Foot Massage & Spa received plea-bargained their cases from felonies down to second-degree misdemeanors for their roles in a prostitution ring run out of day spas in Martin County and two other counties. According to a news report appearing on palmbeachpost.com, the women were licensed by the state of Florida to perform massage therapy. However, their licenses were revoked after each woman entered a plea of no contest to a reduced charge of prostitution. Each woman received credit for the amount of time they spent in jail, awaiting disposition of their cases and before they made bond.
The two former employees of the Bridge Foot Massage & Spa each faced second-degree felony racketeering charges that would have allowed the Martin County Circuit Judge to sentence them up to fifteen years in the Florida state prison. However, under what was described as a revised plea deal with the government, the judge allowed the woman, one of whom is 41-years-of-age, and the other is 47-years-of-age, to plead no contest to prostitution charges.
Prostitution charges are second-degree misdemeanors and carry a maximum jail sentence of 60 days. The court credited each woman for the time they spent in the Martin County Jail before they posted the required bond. The 41-year-old woman received 42 days of credit, and the 47-year-old woman received 21 days of jail credit. The court calculated jail credit as the time the women spent in jail from the date of their arrest up to and including the day they posted their bonds.
As a collateral consequence of their no-contest pleas, the massage therapist license for each woman will be revoked.
One of the several day spas ensnared in the sex-for-fee is the Orchids of Asia Day Spa, formerly operating in Jupiter, Fla. The Orchids of Asia Spa is where the owner of an NFL franchise allegedly paid for a sexual or lewd acts to be performed on him. The Boston Globe reported that over $400,000.00 in cash, along with rare Chinese coins, computer equipment, asylum applications, and high-end fashion accessories.
Prostitution Charges in Florida
Prostitution remains an unlawful activity in Florida, even though many people have advanced the theory that prostitution should be legal between consenting adults. Until the Florida Legislature repeals Section 796.07 of the 2019 Florida Statutes, prostitution shall remain unlawful.
In Florida, prostitution is the act of giving or receiving a person’s body for money in exchange for sexual activity. Lewd, or indecent or obscene acts are also prohibited by Section 796.07, as is the act of assignation. Assignation is making an appointment to engage in a sex act or a lewd act.
The statute criminalizes numerous acts related to prostitution, including performing sex acts for a fee and soliciting sex acts in exchange for something of value.
A conviction for a first offense of prostration is a second-degree misdemeanor. The next offense is a first-degree misdemeanor, and a third offense is a third-degree felony.
Judges must impose 100 hours of community service and require the offender to attend classes about the harmful effects of prostitution.