A manager at a non-traditional Salt Lake massage therapy business has been arrested after police say he raped two women applying for jobs. David Anthony Burgess, 27, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of two counts of first-degree felony rape and a felony warrant for exploitation of prostitution. The prostitution case relates to an earlier investigation of services Burgess allegedly offered at a different massage business. Stories published by the Deseret News, the Salt Lake Tribune, KTVX Channel 4, KUTV Channel 2, and KSL Channel 5.
Update: On October 20th, Burgess appeared at Third District Court, where he was informed of the charges and had legal counsel appointed for him. His next court appearance is October 30th.
The two women, aged 18 and 19 respectively, reported being raped by Burgess during two separate job interviews within a week of one another during September. One victim said she answered a job advertisement on Craig's List, and the other said she was solicited by e-mail on MySpace.
Attorney Perry Bsharah, who rents office space in the suite next door to The Reiki Specialist, said he would often see young women go in and out of the Reiki Specialist office, but he never saw anyone who appeared to be a client. He says that other tenants in the building believed it was just a front for prostitution.
However, KSL has now updated their prior story with additional information. The business owner, Trevon Jackson, says this is all a big misunderstanding. The profiles of each therapist which detail physical descriptions are just a way to bring in customers. "I am fully legit. I abide by all the rules. As you can see, it's clean. It's not messy. There's nothing shady going on here," Jackson said.
Jackson is aware that Burgess was once "mixed up in something". But he understands it was taken care of, and asserts that Burgess was coming into work every day. Jackson further states the police are mixed up, explaining that he and Burgess were operating separate businesses out of the same office.
The Salt Lake Police Department's Special Victims Unit along with vice officers arrested Burgess on Wednesday October 15th, 2008. He worked at The Reiki Specialist, located at 231 East 400 South. The business promotes itself as giving massages with "relaxation techniques" using candles, music and flowing water that "provide your body with free flowing energy to enhance a positive energy balance", according to the company's website.
A Reiki massage is an Asian technique that focuses on the laying of hands on certain points of the body rather than a traditional rubbing massage. Because of that, it does not require a state license. The website indicates that all of the Reiki specialists are women. Several times the website mentions that all of the Reiki specialists are "beautiful." The website also offers a "sensual Reiki."
Police suspect there may be other victims primarily because of Burgess' outstanding warrant. If anyone has information on Burgess or believes they are a victim, they can call police at 799-3678 (Detective Artis) or 799-3420 (Sgt. Kent).
Commentary: No mention on whether physical coercion was used to accomplish these rapes. However, rape can occur by emotional or even racial coercion. Perhaps Burgess got the women to give it up by suggesting that refusal to do so would be considered "racist". This possibility was suggested by a commenter to the KSL story:
Another one of those Katrina Refugee's
by Northern Aggression @ 3:13pm - Thu Oct 16th, 2008
when the women resisted he probably claimed racism. This world is too liberal and feminized to deal with savages like this
by Starman322 @ 3:18pm - Thu Oct 16th, 2008
You do have a problem with race! It makes no difference what his race is; he should be punished if he did this.
by Northern Aggression @ 3:23pm - Thu Oct 16th, 2008
Of course they should be punished regardless of race but just like breeds of dogs some are more prone to violence. Look at the FBI's own statistics.
There is truth in the point brought out by Northern Aggression. Fear of being considered "racist" causes many whites and others to make risky decisions. For example, the mortgage crisis may have been triggered in part by making home loans to financially-unqualified blacks and Latinos thanks to pressure generated by the now-infamous Community Reinvestment Act, which was another undeserved entitlement tossed predominantly at blacks and Latinos to counter charges of racial "redlining".
But more likely is the possibility that economic coercion was used. In other words, Burgess told the girls "give it up if you want the job". His past track record indicates this is a real possibility.
Or there's an outside chance that Burgess simply asked the girls to demonstrate their massage capabilities on him legally, but then when he decided not to hire them, they cried "rape". But this seems like the least likely possibility.
We'll leave it to the justice system to sort it out.