January 7th, 2020 1:49 PM
ALEX ROGALS/Staff Photographer
The village of Oak Park has permanently closed massage parlor Sunny Spa, which operated under the name Wellness Spa at 6617 North Ave. Village Manager Cara Pavlicek issued the decision following a Dec. 19 hearing. The business was declared a "public nuisance."
Allegations of masseuses employed at Wellness Spa sexually assaulting customers prompted an investigation and a sting operation carried out by the Cook County Sheriff's Office.
According to the complaint hearing notice, obtained by Wednesday Journal in response to a Freedom of Information request, a male Wellness Spa employee "touched the sexual or genital areas of a customer while on the premises of the property" on Nov. 2, 2018.
Police arrested the employee on the charge of criminal sexual assault. The employee ultimately pleaded guilty to battery, a misdemeanor, and was sentenced to two years of probation and a fine of $500 on Sept. 10, 2019. That same employee was also arrested for conducting massages without a license.
The charge falls in line with multiple Yelp reviews of the spa, wherein reviewers said they experienced treatment similar to the incident listed in the complaint hearing notice.
"I do not know what the name of the man was that did the massage," one reviewer wrote July 14, 2019, "but he was rubbing his penis on our hands and arms throughout the massage."
In a review posted Oct. 16, 2019, another reviewer wrote that, during her massage, a male masseuse "spent most of the time touching my butt and kept rubbing his small pathetic penis on me" and played with her hair.
The complaint also listed two separate occasions where undercover agents from the Cook County Sheriff's Police had their towels removed by a masseuse.
"On May 21, 2019, an unknown employee of Wellness Spa removed a towel from a Cook County Sheriff undercover agent's lower body that exposed his genitals," the complaint reads.
Nine days later, an incident with the exact same description took place.
Spa owner Xue E. Weng was issued two citations for the two instances and paid two fines of $50 in July of 2019.
The spa was slapped with further violations for employing a second unlicensed masseuse, who was arrested, and for failing to keep an updated list of licensed masseuses posted at the spa.
According to the agreed order issued Dec. 19, Weng acknowledged the violations. Weng is also prohibited from applying for another business license to operate a massage parlor in Oak Park.
The order also states that, as the owner of the building, Weng can "sell the business located at the premises and may act as a landlord only for any subsequent business at the premises."
However, no business can run under the name of the Wellness Spa at 6617 North Ave.
What Weng intends to do with the space remains to be seen, but a sign posted outside the premises Jan. 6 said, "Closed" and "New Management Soon."