A Virginia judge yesterday ordered two Fairfax County health spas suspected by police of prostitution to close "by sundown" after reviewing statements from customers and various explicit photographs taken in a police raid in February.
General District Court Judge F. Bruce Bach's temporary restraining order against the Lee Highway and Columbia Pike locations of Valentine Health Spas Inc. was believed to be the first such court-imposed closure in Fairfax. It will remain in effect until a final hearing scheduled for June 23.
"We presented affidavits from 14 customers and put on 81 slides, some of which showed people right in the sex act," said assistant Fairfax prosecutor Rodney Leffler, who argued for the order.
Judge Bach later ameded his "by sundown" remark to take effect at 6:30 p.m. yesterday. A reporter who arrived at the Columbia Pike location at 6:32 found the establishment dark, with a sign saying "Sorry, We're Closed" on display.
Leffler called the decision another effort on the part of the county "to clean up the things going on around here." But an employe of the Columbia Pike establishment had a different opinion.
"It's not just at all. People want to come here and have a good time. This will be a loss to a lot of people," said the employe, who asked not to be named.
Karen Faulkner of Arlington, listed in Virginia corporation records as the president of Valentine, said yesterday she had no comment on the decision.
Fairfax police gained the names of some 3,000 customers from membership lists obtained during a Feb. 13 raid carried out as part of a three-month investigation by undercover vice officers, according to Leffler. Fourteen of those contacted described the alleged activities of the spas in half-page affidavits entered in court yesterday.
The spas also face a hearing in Fairfax General District Court on April 30 on misdemeanor charges of keeping a bawdy house and aiding prostitution.