Vice Charges Dismissed In Tanning Case -- Police Angry Target Of Prostitution Probe Still In Business

FEDERAL WAY - The lingerie show is back on, the tanning, too. And the city has dismissed prostitution charges against two employees of X-OticTan.

Police, stunned at the decision, say a prostitution conviction in the X-OticTan case could have forced standards of conduct and helped control Federal Way's other adult-entertainment businesses.

Police have said Federal Way leads all other King County cities in the number of prostitution-connected massage parlors.

But when the city dismissed the X-OticTan prostitution charges "they gave away the farm," said Sgt. John Lindner of the King County vice unit.

While the city initially filed prostitution charges based on reports from an undercover police operation, City Attorney Londi Lindell said the city decided the case wasn't strong enough because of a lack of physical contact between the undercover officers and the women.

The two X-OticTan women pleaded guilty to the lesser charges of not having adult-entertainers' licenses. They were fined $48 each and given a deferred one-year sentence.

City Hearing Examiner Terrence McCarthy revoked the firm's general business registration Sept. 30 and said it needed an adult-entertainment license to operate.

He based his decision, in part, on the testimony of three King County vice officers who conducted an undercover investigation of X-OticTan. The prostitution charges stemmed from that investigation.

X-OticTan was told to get an adult-entertainment license to continue operations but was not forced to close, pending tonight's appeal before the City Council at 7 p.m.

X-OticTan voluntarily closed and had remained closed until last week. Now the blue-neon sign in the darkened windows once again advertises it's business as usual at the 29500 Pacific Highway S. strip-mall location.