Thirty-one men and women who were unlawfully videotaped as they were receiving massages at the Orchids of Asia Spa have filed a class-action lawsuit against the Jupiter Police Department for violating their rights to privacy.
The Jupiter Police Department began surveillance at the Orchids of Asia Spa last November after they received a tip that the spa was connected to a string of massage parlors that might be involved in human sex trafficking. Police officers claimed that over several days they saw men just entering the spa and leaving after 30 or 60 minutes. According to warrants, some of the male customers were pulled over for traffic violations after they left the spa and admitted to paying for sex acts.
About a week later, a female health inspector went to the spa and told police that there was evidence that three female workers were living in the store.
By the middle of January, police officers obtained a warrant to install cameras in the lobby and massage rooms. However, attorneys have said that installing the cameras violates state law. The law states that audio surveillance can only be used to investigate serious crimes, like murder and kidnapping, not prostitution.
According to police, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft visited the spa two days after the cameras were installed and again the next morning.
Investigators claimed that they videotaped Kraft engaging in sex acts during both visits and handing over cash. Kraft was charged in February and has pleaded not guilty, but apologized for his actions.
“It is horrific when you think about the scenario,” said Joseph Tacopina, a New York attorney who filed the suit. “It is akin to going to a bathroom. You are in a state of undress and you are being surreptitiously recorded and that recording is now subject to disclosure and being disseminated around the internet. It is an abomination of any form of privacy rights and constitutional rights.”
The plaintiffs seek unspecified monetary and punitive damages and to have the video recordings blocked from getting out in the public and ultimately destroyed.