LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP) - The owner of a Lawrence massage parlor coerced employees to perform sex acts on male customers, some of whom were videotaped without the clients' knowledge, a prosecutor said Tuesday.
But Lori Barron's attorney, Antony Ortiz, told reporters after her arraignment Tuesday in Lawrence District Court that the charges are baseless allegations by four disgruntled employees at her business, The Day Spa for Gentlemen.
Barron, 50, of Salem, N.H., pleaded not guilty to charges of maintaining a house of prostitution, deriving support from prostitution, human trafficking, unlawful wiretapping, extortion and photographing unsuspecting nude persons. She was released on $30,000 bail.
Prosecutor Kelleen Forlizzi said in court that one former worker told investigators Barron lured her into prostitution. Prosecutors allege four women were pressured into sex work.
Forlizzi said Barron kept a client list that included police, firefighters, teachers and a city councilor. No names or communities of alleged clients were released.
The Eagle-Tribune reports that police said Barron advertised online for receptionists and would promote them to "massage therapists" who were not trained or licensed to perform massage, and were required to perform sex acts, working long hours for cash bonuses. Authorities said Barron used the videotapes to blackmail employees to keep working for her.
Barron was arrested Monday following searches of her home and business.
She was convicted of prostitution in 2011 in Salem, N.H., after authorities said unlicensed workers were performing sex with massage customers at a spa she owned there.