CARLSBAD, Calif. (KGTV) - After arresting a massage parlor employee on sexual assault charges, the Carlsbad Police Department is asking that any other potential survivors can come forward.
Lt. Darbie Ernst said the investigation began April 1 when a woman called in saying she’d been sexually assaulted during a massage at Grotto Spa, located at 2623 Gateway Road in Carlsbad. The Grotto Spa was recently purchased and is also known as the King Spa.
Officers arrested 50-year-old Yalong Liu, an employee, on suspicion of sexual assault. He also had a felony sexual assault warrant for his arrest out of Texas, according to police.
Since the arrest, Ernst said two other people have come forward with similar assault stories, so police are concerned there could be more victims. They’re now asking the community to come forward and share any information with police.
Ernst said she wants survivors to feel supported, telling ABC 10News, “Oftentimes anything sexual in nature is very vulnerable for victims and they feel very vulnerable. We want to make sure they know they’re in good hands and we’ll take care of them every step of the way."
ABC 10News spoke with one of the three individuals who reported an assault, and that survivor wants to encourage others to come forward.
That survivor releasing a statement that reads:
“I experienced sexual assault at the Grotto Spa in Bressi Ranch. Getting a massage is not consent to be touched inappropriately. Management is aware of what is occurring, and continues to allow individuals to be sent into a massage room to come out a changed person. The ramifications of being violated can ripple into all areas of your life. If you have experience this - you are not alone. It was not your fault. Please come forward and share your story with the police. I cannot undo what happened to me that day at the Grotto Spa, but I can advocate for justice now.”
Anyone who was a victim of a sexual assault at the Grotto Spa, the King Spa, or who knows anything about a sexual assault that occurred at this location is asked to call Detective Dzung Luc at 442-339-2173 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABC 10News spoke to the new owner of the spa, and she said she just purchased the business last month. She said the previous owner encouraged her to keep the employees and she had not yet vetted the staff.
A friend helped translate, saying “she said the previous owner said that since she just bought this business, in order to keep the previous customers happy, she should take the old employees because they know the place better, they know the location, they know the customers. It’s really nice to have some familiar faces toward the customers.”
The new owner admits fault, but says she is not responsible for the hiring of Liu. She said she is a single mother of two daughters and wants to encourage customers to feel safe in her business.