Numerous police officers paid for sex with prostitutes at three local spas and even, in the case of one officer, helped protect the illicit enterprise, a former employee told FOX Undercover.
That officer, a state police trooper, has been suspended without pay.
“How many police officers were customers?” FOX Undercover reporter Mike Beaudet asked the former employee.
“I couldn't even tell you. There's so many,” the woman replied. “If I had to ballpark it? Maybe thirty.”
“Local police?” Beaudet asked.
“Absolutely,” the woman replied.
“State police?” Beaudet asked.
“Absolutely,” she said. “Because all it takes is one person to get in the door. And then they tell a friend. And then they tell a friend. And the next thing you know you got ten cops from the same city coming in.”
The woman worked for spa owner Terry Mussari until authorities last month raided Mussari's spas in Brockton, Norwood and Canton. The former employee spoke to FOX Undercover on the condition she not be identified.
The woman admits giving customers more than just massages, a practice she says was common at the spas. She says customers would pay for a legitimate massage and then tip her or the other women in the private rooms for sex, including intercourse.
She says she and other employees repeatedly complained to local and state authorities about police officers going to the spa for sex, but that for years the complaints didn't go anywhere.
One former employee told Norwood police in 2008 that Spa Bellissimo was a prostitution front. Norwood police noted in their report of the interview that the witness told them “…the owner…was arranging for clients to have a massage and a ‘happy ending.’”
The woman “is willing to speak with a detective if there's an investigation,” the report notes, but Mussari wasn’t arrested for another three years.
“It was kept hush-hush because it involved police officers,” the former employee told FOX Undercover. “It's not about what the girls did. It's how everything was gone about, the cover up at the police stations.”
Norwood police say they investigated all complaints about the spa and in April 2009 requested the assistance of the Attorney General's office.
Records from Brockton police show complaints about Aria Day Spa date back to 2009 when two former employees contacted the police.
One reporting, "This spa was merely a cover-up for a legal whore house."
Another telling police a customer told her that, “All the girls massage the groin area for extra tips.”
In response, Brockton police went into the spa undercover. In a report, a detective called the massage, “overly suggestive,” but noted, “no offer to perform any sexual acts was made.”
The ongoing investigation has already claimed its first police casualty, though.
State police trooper David Lemar admitted to FOX Undercover that he was a longtime customer of another one of Mussari’s places, Aria Day Spa in Brockton but denies doing anything illegal.
Asked if he was going there for sexual favors Lemar replied, “No I was not.”
But he’s now off the job, placed on unpaid leave as part of the investigation into Mussari’s spas.
“Being at the wrong place at the wrong time. I believed that she was a chiropractor,” Lemar said.
Lemar says he believed Mussari was a chiropractor even though state records show she actually gave up her chiropractor's license five years ago after the state accused her of wrongdoing at her old business in Easton. It's a case that sounds just like the current one.
According to state records, Mussari “encouraged, facilitated, and accepted (money) for the sexual acts that (her) unlicensed employees performed on male clients”.
“It's shocking. It's like, how did I get dragged into this? And unfortunately, the truth will eventually come out,” Lemar told FOX Undercover’s Beaudet.
The state police suspension came after Lemar appeared at the house of an unhappy customer of Aria Day Spa in September 2010. The customer had caused problems at the spa.
The customer reported her interaction with Lemar to West Bridgewater police, who wrote in a report that “when (the spa customer) was informed that she was not welcome back (at the spa) by Tpr. Lemar, she stated that the state police was trying to cover up ‘what really goes on there.’”
“Was that official police business, state police business?” Beaudet asked Lemar about the visit.
“It was, basically,” Lemar replied.
“There is some speculation that other police officers were involved,” Beaudet said.
“We’re investigating this situation. I also unfortunately got involved with the investigation,” Lemar said.
“Do you recall this woman suggesting you were covering up what was really going on there?” Beaudet asked.
“That was so long ago, no,” Lemar said, then adding, “Oh, I remember her suggesting that there was something going on. Asked me if I knew about it. I don't know what you're talking about, as I told the (State Police).”
But the spa employee says Lemar went there for a reason: to protect Mussari.
“He's trying to cover his butt. That's exactly what he's doing,” the employee said.
She says the trooper would help out in other ways such as by fixing tickets.
“He was a trooper. He fixed things. He made things go away. He would help the girls out,” she said.
This spa employee says she did not massage or have sex with Lemar herself, but she and others who did not want to talk on camera say he was a regular at the spa.
“He would leave his car idled out back or out front and run in while he's on duty. Other troopers would come in with him that were buddies of him. In full uniform, on duty to go and get a massage,” the employee said. “He's supposed to be out protecting and serving and doing his job. And he's in the other room getting sex.”
FOX Undercover asked Mussari whether police knew about the prostitutions and if Lemar helped keep things quiet. She didn’t answer questions, but her husband grabbed FOX Undercover’s camera when we tried to interview them.
Other than blowing a kiss as she drove away, Mussari did not comment. She has pleaded not guilty to a charge of deriving support from prostitution.
The former employee who spoke to FOX Undercover said she doesn’t know what finally made the police take an interest.
“I have no idea,” she said. “Somebody finally listened. It’s a little late. It’s very late.”
State police are reacting to our investigation, defending the work of federal, state and local police, saying they took immediate action when they could.
A spokesman says the people who reported allegations may not realize when action is taken on that information and that investigations like this take significant time to be done correctly.
Police in Canton say the spa in their community was only open for a few weeks before the raid, but the police chief says the department was aware of the alleged activities at the other spas and has been cooperating with the ongoing investigation.