A former top lieutenant in a $1 million-a-year Alexandria massage parlor operation who pleaded guilty to racketeering was sentenced to four months is jail yesterday after his attorney painted a grim picture of "threats of physical violence and intimidation" inside the sex-oriented business.
Clyde Ballard (Skip) Stovall Jr. a former top aide to massage parlor operator Louis Michael Parrish, was constantly harassed and threatened by Parrish, Stovall's attorney William Jordan Temple told U.S. District Judge Albert V.Bryan Jr.
Following his client's sentencing, Temple called the four-month jail term "unduly harsh and inappropriate" considering Stovall's cooperation with the government investigation and predicted that the sentence will adversely affect the cooperation of other witnesses who have also entered guilty pleas.
At the hearing before sentence was imposed, Temple had said that Parrish "deliberately" lent Stovall money for a car, "threatened him with physical violence if he didn't repay" it, then "harassed and intimidated" Stovall when he tried to quit the business last year.
Parrish "didn't want people to escape his clutches," and recently threatened Stovall so severely that Stovall had been secretly staying in Temple's home, the attorney said.
Temple's remarks in open court were the first public comments on the atmosphere that allegedly existed inside Parrish's massage parlor empire. An FBI affidavit filed last year in connection with the federal probe of the operation called Parrish the operator of the Washington's area's "largest and most sophisticated commercialized prostitution business."
Parrish and his attorney could not be reached for comment.
Stovall was the first former Parrish employe to plead guilty to interstate racketerring in connection with the federal probe, which has been gathering steam for the past 18 months. Since Stovall's guilty plea Sept. 27, two other Parrish employes have also pleaded guilty to interstate racketeering. Stovall was the first to be sentenced.
Stovall, who once controlled four of Parrish's 11 massage parlors, told Bryan that "my life in the past has not been dedicated towards community service." Now he was "set on the right track, and would like a chance to be a member of society," Stovall said.
Bryan, however, said Stovall's actions "warrant incarceration," and sentenced him to four months in jail and three years of supervised probation.
Stovall, who had faced a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine, was quickly ushered from the courtrooom by federal marshals to begin serving his sentence.
After the court session, Temple criticized Bryan and said his sentence was "unduly harsh and inappropriate . . . considering that Mr. Stovall risked his life to make the government's case. I am absolutely and unequivocably concerned about his safety in jail. I personally don't know why the judge ruled the way he did since Mr. Stovall fully and openly cooperated with the government, and spent eight hours testifying before the federal grand jury," Temple said.
"The (Stovall) sentence will have an adverse effect" on the cooperation of other defendants with the government, "Temple said.