Prostitution sting called outrageous

February 5, 2008 8:29:08 PM PST
State police engaged in "outrageous" conduct when they paid an informant to have sex with employees of a spa on four separate occasions as part of a prostitution investigation, a judge has ruled.

State police investigating the Shiatsu Spa in North Whitehall Township paid the informant $180 and gave him money to pay for sexual acts in the spa in 2006.

"We conclude that the decision to send the citizen into Shiatsu Spa on four occasions for a smorgasbord of sexual activity violates the principles of fundamental fairness," Lehigh County Judge Robert L. Steinberg wrote.

Steinberg dismissed prostitution charges against the spa's owner, Sun Cha Chon, 53, of Cross Kill, N.J., agreeing with Chon's allegation of "outrageous government conduct" on the part of the police.

"Does the public want their tax dollars to be used to pay some guy money to get sexual intercourse four times? It is disgusting," said Chon's attorney, Maureen Coggins.

State troopers have testified that they were trying to determine if prostitution was going on at Shiatsu Spa and that while sex is not preferred, it is not prohibited as an investigatory tool.

But Steinberg said that police could have made an arrest after the spa's employees offered sex for money.

"We expect more from the police and demand that they conduct their investigations and utilize their resources without resorting to such embarrassing investigative techniques," he wrote.

District Attorney James Martin said he will appeal the Jan. 24 ruling.

Information from: The Morning Call,