Libertyville passes tougher rules for massage parlors
BY KATLYN SMITH firstname.lastname@example.org | @Katlyn_eSmith October 7, 2013 7:20PM
Libertyville and other suburbs have enacted rules to control massage parlors locally. | File photo
Updated: December 7, 2013 2:45AM
Libertyville officials “put some teeth” into regulations of massage parlors about eight months after employees of a spa on the village’s north side were busted for prostitution, Police Chief Clint Herdegen said.
The village previously issued licenses for massage therapists. But a state law passed several years ago requires therapists to apply for licenses with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
In response, Libertyville and other suburbs have enacted rules to control massage parlors locally.
“We wanted to ensure in the community that the massage establishments that are here are professional and conducting business in a legal manger,” Herdegen said.
The village board has reworked ordinances to give Libertyville the power to handle the licensing of businesses offering massages.
“The fact that we can revoke the license of the establishment, versus the individual therapist, puts more pressure on the owner to make sure the facility runs properly and meets village codes,” Village Administrator Kevin Bowens said.
The village can strip licenses of parlors whose employees have been found guilty of certain crimes, including prostitution. The penalty would effectively shut down operations.
“This ordinance will allow us to hold that establishment accountable for allowing that kind of behavior,” Herdegen said.
In January, a joint investigation between the Lake County sheriff’s office and Libertyville police led to the arrest of a masseuse who authorities said offered sex acts for money to an undercover police officer at the Dragon Spa, 402 Peterson Road.
Less than two weeks later, a second employee was charged with prostitution. The case is still pending, and officials have not moved to close the spa, Herdegen said.
Officials say they were already preparing new regulations before the incident.
If the village suspends or revokes a license, the holder can appeal the decision. The process could include a hearing called by the village administrator.
To obtain licenses, applicants must submit fingerprints and pay a $50 fee, among other requirements.
Parlors must also clearly display their rates for all massage services.
The police chief will review applications and conduct criminal background checks.
The village has 45 days to respond to a submitted application.
Bowens said the changes help deter illicit behavior.
“This ordinance is stronger than what we had on the books before,” he said.