Suit takes aim at controversial spa
Woodburn School District Board Chair Anthony Medina filed a damages complaint with the Circuit Court of the State of Oregon Thursday against multiple defendants in connection with Woodburn Spa.
The complaint seeks a total of $450,000 in damages; $150,000 economic damages and $300,000 non-economic. Domestic limited liability corporations Woodburn Spa, Iris Massage and Angels Touch Massage along with an individual, spa proprietor Fuxiu Zhen were named as the defendants.
Medina, who is currently running for the Oregon House District 22 seat, reported to Woodburn Police early this year that he went to Woodburn Spa for a therapeutic massage but left after being touched inappropriately. A subsequent investigation by WPD and the Oregon State Board of Massage Therapists led to the arrests of two people, Wenli Yang and Wei Gao, charging them with practicing massage without a license and operating a massage facility without a permit.
Medina's attorney, Sean J. Riddell of Portland, said Medina is a victim, and yet the businesses continue to operate with impunity.
"What Mr. Medina is trying to get from these lawsuits is the shutting down of unlawful massage parlors," Riddell said. "Oregon Department of Justice is, by statute, required to investigate organized crime."
ODJ spokeswoman Kristina Edmunson noted in an email: "There are no regulatory agencies for 'spas' generally. Massage is regulated by the Oregon Board of Massage Therapists; they license both massage therapists and facilities. Under (Oregon law) the Board has jurisdiction to issue civil penalties or pursue an injunction."
The complaint notes that according to Oregon State Board of Massage Therapists, Woodburn Spa, Iris Massage and Angels Touch Massage are not licensed by the OSBMT. It also cited WPD findings of massage therapists operating without licenses and an anonymous phone call to the department in December claiming the spa was engaged in prostitution activity.
In addition to Medina, Woodburn Mayor Eric Swenson and OSBMT Compliance Manager Jeff Van Laanen reported similar incidents, the latter while conducting an investigation of Woodburn Spa.
The suit notes that Medina regularly receives prescribed massages for back-pain issues. Since his normal massage therapy provider was booked solid, he sought a massage at Woodburn Spa. In the process he was touched inappropriately and left the spa.
The complaint states: "As a result of the defendant's abuse, plaintiff suffered non-economic losses, including, but not limited to, emotional injury and mental anguish, trauma, an inability to form close relationships, nightmares and sleep disruption, mistrust in the intentions of others, lack of self esteem, depression and anxiety."
It also alleges that the defendants engage in racketeering activity, including forgery, coercion, theft by deception, sexual abuse, prostitution and human trafficking.
Riddell said after the complaint filing Thursday, the defendants have to be served before following steps ensue.
"The whole process could take anywhere from one and a half to two years, if it goes to trial," Riddell said.
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