BELVIDERE — A downtown massage parlor in business for nearly 40 years didn’t stop operating after a Sept. 14 police raid led to the arrest of its owner.
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Michael Cain, 48, of Beloit, Wisconsin, was charged with three felony counts of promoting prostitution and three misdemeanor counts of Massage Licensing Act violation.
Yet he ignored a court order to stop operating Executive Relaxation Station, 134 N. State St., “until further order of the court,” according to court documents. Belvidere police conducted a Sept. 22 check of the premises and discovered several employees wearing negligees. Two of those employees — Dawn Eisenhauer, 50, of Huntley, and Ashley Mirabella, 25, of Rockford — were arrested for performing a massage without a license.
Belvidere Police Chief Jan Noble said the parlor couldn’t have reopened for long.
“If they did, it was only for a day,” he said. “Right now, it’s still closed."
Aldermen are considering tighter city regulations on massage parlors to prevent illegal activity in the wake of police raids at Executive Relaxation and three other Belvidere massage parlors. The Sept. 14 raids produced 14 arrests.
“We do not want them to open up again,” Mayor Mike Chamberlain said. “It is not a victimless crime.”
Aldermen began discussing last month whether businesses should be required to obtain licenses and whether those offering massage services should be subject to criminal background checks.
Cain and the other 13 arrested during the Sept. 14 raids at Executive Relaxation Station, Spa Tui-Na, Royal Oriental Massage, and C"est La Vie Health Spa & Modeling have begun appearing in court in recent weeks. Five individuals, including Cain, face charges stemming from illegal massage activities at Executive Relaxation Station. Two were arrested for activities at Spa Tui-Na, 120 N. State St. Three were arrested at Royal Oriental Massage, 404 S. State St. Four were arrested at C"est La Vie Health Spa & Modeling, 401 S. State St.
Cain’s next court appearance is set for Jan. 20. He could be sent to state prison while the others charged face the possibility of a year in jail. He and his Chicago attorney, George Pappas, declined to comment.
“Our investigation is ongoing,” Noble said. “The department found volumes of information that is still being sifted through. The burden is upon the state to prove their case but we believe it’s a very solid case.”
During a Sept. 15 bond hearing, a 17th Judicial Circuit Court judge set Cain"s bond at $20,000. He was “not allowed to operate any business out of” his address “until further order of the court."
Cain tried to keep his business open by filing an emergency motion Sept. 20 to amend his bond, claiming that he and his 14 employees would be in financial jeopardy if not allowed to work. Most of his workers have young children to support, he said.
On Sept. 22, a Belvidere police officer doing a routine check of Cain"s business found Executive Relaxation Station still in operation. A front desk manager told the officer Cain had said the business could remain open as long as Cain wasn’t present. On Oct. 4, Cain testified he had sent a text message to his “sub-contractors” to let them know his bond condition was that he could not operate a business.
“But he did not instruct them not to run the business,” Appellate Court Judge Ann B. Jorgensen said in a summary order that kept Cain"s business closed. "Defendant passively, if not overtly, violated the conditions of bail and allowed for additional criminal offenses to occur on the property, which put the community at risk."
Judge Rob Tobin denied Cain’s emergency motion during the Oct. 4 hearing and increased his bond to $50,000.
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New Boone County State’s Attorney Tricia Smith said she will review the massage parlor cases as soon as she can. She was sworn in Dec. 1.
“I’m going to meet with law enforcement and basically proceed on the cases that have been filed, maybe review the charges and I guess kind of take it from there,” she said. “I do have a good relationship with the city attorney and the city of Belvidere. We’re certainly keeping each other informed.”