Nearly 10 years ago, after a crackdown by the sheriff's office, seedy "massage parlors" were driven out of Columbia County.
Then-commissioner Frank Spears followed up by pushing through a tough ordinance requiring licensing and credentials for massage businesses. Out went the massage parlors, and legitimate massage therapists were able to thrive without the "parlor" stigma.
Let's hope an arrest Tuesday isn't a sign of the return of the bad old days.
An undercover investigator arrested 47-year-old Dan Sim Kim, charging her with masturbation for hire - the all-too-common offense of those "massage parlors." Kim, an employee of King's Health Spa on South Belair Road, was released from jail after posting a $1,600 bond.
Talk about cheap thrills: Sheriff's office Capt. Steve Morris says Kim offered to perform a sex act on the undercover cop for $60.
The spa, according to county officials, is properly licensed - as is Kim. This arrest could all be a big misunderstanding. It could be an isolated incident.
But what it cannot be is repeated. The sheriff's office deserves applause for keeping a sharp eye on these places - not only to catch prostitutes, but to prevent "massage parlors" from creeping back into Columbia County.
Legitimate massage therapists deserve a respectful environment. And citizens deserve to expect that seedy fronts for prostitution aren't allowed to return.
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