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The Times' criminal justice team looks behind the scenes and behind the headlines.

February 22, 2010 at 2:54 PM

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Massage parlor owner charged with promoting prostitution

Posted by Jennifer Sullivan

The owner of an Eastlake massage parlor that advertised spiritual massages -- which Seattle police allege included masturbation and other sex acts -- has been charged with three counts of second-degree promoting prostitution and attempting to promote prostitution.

Vivian Ellis, who is also known as Rainbow Love, 44, of Marysville, was arrested in May 2009 at the conclusion of a nearly 10-month investigation by Seattle police. Police began investigating the Sacred Temple, in the 3100 block of Eastlake Avenue East, after a receptionist for the massage parlor complained that she was fired after refusing her manager's request that she masturbate clients, according to charging documents filed last week in King County Superior Court.

In addition to the Eastlake business, Ellis also ran other "temples" in Seattle's Greenwood neighborhood and Kirkland, police said.

A female detective working undercover interviewed for a job at the Greenwood location, charging papers say. Love told the undercover detective that male customers "expected to at least" be masturbated "for their $150 cash fee and that Rainbow Love expected the undercover detective to touch every part of the customer's body in the session," the probable-cause document says.

Love explained the split: $100 for the provider; $40 for the house; and $10 for the "gatekeeper" or receptionist, court papers said.

After her arrest, Love allegedly told detectives "that her work is spiritual in nature and that's what the men are seeking," charging documents said.

Prosecutors said the charges came nine months after the arrest because additional investigation was required. Love is out of jail on bail and is scheduled to appear in court for arraignment on March 2.

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