Ex-Mayor Of Dumfries Indicted in Brothel Case

Melvin "Mel" Bray, shown at the beginning of his term as Dumfries mayor, says, "I positively swear on a stack of Bibles" that he is not involved in brothel operations. A woman who may be a business partner was arrested. (By Aida Muluneh For The Washington Post)
By Theresa Vargas
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 16, 2007

A Prince William grand jury has handed up a felony indictment against the 72-year-old former Dumfries mayor who was charged with running a brothel out of a sports therapy clinic in Manassas.

Melvin "Mel" Bray, who served as mayor from 2002 to 2006, was arrested last month and charged with keeping a bawdy place, a misdemeanor. A grand jury also indicted him this month on a felony charge that he "received money or other valuable thing for or on account of procuring for or placing in a house of prostitution or elsewhere any person for the purpose of causing such person to engage in unlawful sexual intercourse."

Police seized about $17,000 during the July 17 raid on Yorkshire Sports Therapy, on Centreville Road near the Fairfax County line.

Bray has denied the charges, telling The Washington Post at the time that he would not "stoop to that level" knowing the embarrassment it could cause his family and supporters.

"I positively swear on a stack of Bibles I would not do that," he said.

Bray could not be reached for comment Tuesday, which is the publication deadline for the Prince William Extra.

A special prosecutor from Chesterfield has agreed to handle the case, Prince William Commonwealth's Attorney Paul B. Ebert said this week.

If convicted, Bray could serve two to 10 years in jail.

Police said the raid was the result of a two-month investigation. They arrested eight other people at the business, including a woman who authorities believe may have been Bray's business partner. Hee Ma Jeung, 52, was indicted on the same charges as Bray.

The day before Bray's arrest, police stopped two men who were seen leaving the sports clinic, according to the affidavit for a search warrant.

One of the men told police that he went to the business after hearing that employees inside provided sexual acts to customers. He told police he walked in about 6:30 p.m. and was greeted by an Asian female. He gave her $60. He was then greeted by another Asian female, with short black hair and a thin build, who asked him if he wanted sex. He gave her $100.

About three hours later, police stopped another man leaving the business, who gave a similar account, according to the affidavit.

In addition to money, police recovered documents, a laptop, lubricants and condoms from the business, according to the search warrant.

Bray, who was Dumfries's first African American mayor, also was a Town Council member and a county sheriff's deputy.

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