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Colorado Springs spa tests limits of state public health order

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- KRDO NewsChannel 13 is following up on our yearlong investigation into illicit spas and at least one which is still operating despite a state order to shut down amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our investigation into dozens of illicit spas in El Paso County found plenty of evidence for officials to shut these businesses down, including a lack of business licenses, workers living inside the spas, and most of all human trafficking and indications of sex for sale.

None of those reasons were enough to get the city to shut those spas down.

But what about a state health order for all non-essential businesses to shut down?

Stress Away Spa on Circle Drive had cars in its back parking lot late last week and early this week.

KRDO saw men walking around the back of the building, in addition to others going in and out.

More than 40 graphic online reviews as recent as two months ago suggest that sex acts are for sale at Stress Away. Those reviews include services received and rate the bodies of the women who apparently perform the sex acts.

Stress Away didn't answer its number listed online when a male KRDO employee called to set up an appointment on Wednesday afternoon.

About 40 minutes later, a KRDO photographer walked up to the back door with a cell phone recording in his pocket. That's when I came up and confronted the woman at the door asking why they remained open.

The woman told us she thought the state public health order expired at the end of March.

"It ends on April 11. Are you aware that you are supposed to be shut down?" What are these masks for? We have a recording of you telling us to come here," we told the woman at Stress Away.

"We bought it. We bought it. We ordered it," she said.

We asked the woman the same question we've asked at other spas: "Do you guys sell sex here?"

"No," she said.

After claiming she misunderstood the order and claiming that she would close, we left. But within minutes, the same woman approached us as we were pulling out of the parking lot. She began screaming at us, angry that we showed up at the business to ask her questions in the first place, and she tried to hit our chief photographer.

KRDO checked back with Stress Away on Thursday to see if there were in fact closed. They did not answer our calls and there didn't appear to be any activity there today.

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office tells us they haven't received any calls reporting illegal activity at Stress Away in the last year.

The El Paso County Health Department said it hasn't received any complaints about Stress Away. However, they say they will follow up to educate the spa on the public health order that mandates its closure.

Article Topic Follows: Illicit Spas

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Chelsea Brentzel

Chelsea is the Assistant News Director for KRDO NewsChannel 13. Learn more about Chelsea here.


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