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JOURNAL NEWS: CLARKSTOWN LAW EFFECTIVE IN BARRING BROTHELS FRONTING AS MASSAGE PARLORS

The Journal News reported in its Sunday edition yesterday that a 1996 law enacted by the Rockland County town of Clarkstown — used as a model by ECC president Bob Bernstein in drafting a similar law being considered for Greenburgh — was effective in eliminating brothels fronting as massage parlors.

“Almost overnight a lot of illegal facilities started closing doors,” said Clarkstown Deputy Attorney Jeffrey R. Millman.  There were nearly 30 massage parlors in that town when the law was enacted; today there are only three.

Mr. Bernstein drafted the law being considered for Greenburgh after Police Chief Chris McNerney said last fall that Edgemont had become the “illicit massage parlor capital of Westchester County” and after Town Attorney Tim Lewis declined to do so after concluding that towns in New York did not have the legal authority to restrict brothels fronting as massage parlors.

Mr. Lewis’s misgivings notwithstanding, state law expressly authorizes towns in New York to enact regulations to bar houses of prostitution from operating within their borders.

The Journal News story also quoted an owner of one of the massage parlors in Edgemont whose advertisements on the internet include photos of scantily clad Asian women in suggestive poses with phrases like “so beautiful,” “so hot,” and “so warm,” saying it is “commonplace to advertise like that,” while denying that prostitution takes place.

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