An Alexandria grand jury has indicted six masseuses as a result of a police investigation of the city's massage parlors in which police used civilian volunteers to purchase sexual services.
Alexandria police officials yesterday defended the practice by which the department provided more than $300 to three men to pay for sexual acts in massage parlors, a practice one Northern Virginia prosecutor said might constitute entrapment.
"There was no entrapment" said Alexandria police Capt. Carl Dutzman, who coordinated the efforts of one undercover policeman and two civilian volunteers. "We use civilian volunteers all the time" and purchase materials such as drugs, he said. "What better way to have an interested civilian assist in law enforcement?"
As a result of the alleged purchase of the sexual services, the city grand jury last Wednesday indicted six women, charging three of them with sodomy, andprostitution.
The indictments charge that the acts took place during the week of April 13. Two of the women are identified as Deborah Ann Inmann and Rosemary Cunningham and each of the other four are listed as Jane Doe. The massage parlors at which they allegedly worked are not identified.
Only one of the three men was identified. He is Alexandria police officer Edward Johannemann. Dutzman said the two unidentified civilians are men trusted by his vice squad.
"We had confidence that they could accomplish the task," Dutzman said. "One of the criteria was that they would be willing to testify in court," and the other was that all three men be single.
The action by the Alexandria police comes six weeks after 60 FBI agents staged a late night raid on 11 Northern Virginia massage parlors, which the FBI said, constituted the Washington area's "largest, most sophisticated commercialized prostitution business."
The 11 parlors, as well as one in the District of Columbia, were owned by Louis Michael Parrish, a Northern [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE]
Several of Parrish's massage parlors and call services had operated for several years in Alexandria according to court records.
Alexandria Commonwealth Attorney William L. Cowhig said yesterday he had not known of the use of civilians in the April operation. "I suggested they use civilians two years ago," he said. "I don't think when a place is open to the general public you can holler entrapment."
Arlington County Commonwealth's Attorney William Burroughs said a successful raid two years ago on massage parlors in his area came about as a result of information gathered by a civilian.
But Fairfax County prosecutor Robert F. Horan said, "I think it's ridiculous to get into that situation. How do you as a prosecutor say, 'convict the other side for an act the police officer (also) did?' And that is to say nothing of the formidable legal defense of entrapment."
In the past, when a court has found that an individual has been entrapped, or has committed an illegal act at the behest of a law enforcement officer, the charges have been dismissed.
The civilian volunteers were approached by police, and given the money needed, or reimbursed for charges accrued to their credit cards, Dutzman said.
Dutzman said that the decision by police too use volunteers was made in April and that in its wake, four of the seven massage parlors investigated have closed. "This was not a coordinated effort (between local police and FBI agents). They were looking at it from a different angle. We were not competing with them, however, (but) just working along at the same speed," he said.
Dutzman said the money came from the police general fund, and totaled between $300 and $600.
James Kibler, 31, owner of two Alexandria massage parlors, the Adonis and the New Towers Health Club, said, "The Alexandria police department got caught. The FBI came in and cleaned up four of the parlors . . . Now (they are) trying to take it out on us so they can save face," he said.
Kibler refused to say whether employes of his massage parlors were among those indicted on Wednesday.
"There is no physical contact. What the customer is paying for is companionship," Kibler said, adding that prices start at $35 for 30 minutes.
Federal officials refused to say yesterday whether a federal grand jury that will convene Monday will hear information on Alexandria's massage parlors as well as the city's once-flourishing bingo games.
In a separate development yesterday, Robert B. Gerber, a plumber who has been implicated in allegedly illegal bingo operations, filed a petition in Alexandria Circuit Court seeking the removal of special bingo prosecutor Edward J. White. Gerber claimed that White had been improperly appointed to office.
White said he was sure his appointment by Senior Circuit Court Judge Franklin P. Backus was proper and termed the suit a "smokescreen."