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N4T Investigators: Illicit Massage Parlor Followup - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

N4T Investigators: Illicit Massage Parlor Followup

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Some say last summer's illicit massage parlor investigation gave the Tucson Police Department a black eye. Some of the officers were demoted, some were reprimanded, others were fired, some quit and some were reinstated. The county attorney's office here has yet to file criminal charges against the woman at the heart of the investigation. They say they're still investigating.

After News 4 Tucson Investigators first reported the illicit massage parlor investigation, Tucson police officials publicly said they were disgusted after learning some of their officers were being investigated for paying for sex from an elaborate criminal prostitution ring operating in Tucson.
The ring ran under the name "By Spanish" an illicit massage parlor operation that used houses and businesses as fronts for sex. These ads for the sex workers ran on Craigslist and Backpage.com.

By the end, 10 Tucson police employees were snared in an investigation that ran four years. Five were fired, two quit while they were questioned, two more were cleared. One got his job back.

But the woman at the center of the investigation has never been charged.

Clarissa Lopez lost her home, thousands in cash, and this affidavit shows, dozens upon dozens of belongings that police said were used in the business. Police said the ring earned a quarter of a million dollars a year.
A spokeswoman for the Pima County Attorney's Office sent us this email:
“It appears as if the case is still under investigation so we are unable to make any comment right now."
Mike Storie defended many of the officers in the investigation. He's suspicious of the delay.

“No, it's not normal. I mean, officer involved shootings which are some of the most controversial things we deal with are wrapped up in a month. And this thing's taken over a year? You've gotta be kidding me.”

He argues the case against the officers was overblown.

“So you can look at this in retrospect and say this was a tempest in a teapot for sure which cost a lot of good people their reputations and their careers.”

Neither Clarissa Lopez nor her lawyer would return our requests for an interview. But a review of Pima County's civil case against Lopez shows that the last court filing was August 27.
Last July, Lopez told the News 4 Tucson Investigators:

“I don't think it's fair if the guys aren't getting charged and the girls are it's not fair at all if they don't have enough evidence on the guys then they don't have enough evidence on the girls it needs to work both ways.”

If you have a tip for the investigators, email investigators at investigators@kvoa dot com or call the tipline, 955-4444.

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