HARRISBURG, Pa.—The cops had a clean bust in their sights but blew the possibility of a conviction when they supplied the john with government funds and then sent him back into the massage parlor four times to engage in what the district court judge called "a smorgasbord of sexual activity."
According to the Associated Press, an appeals court has upheld an earlier ruling by the lower court that “threw out prostitution charges against Sun Cha Chon on the grounds that the government had acted outrageously.”
"We expect more from the police, and demand that they conduct their investigations and utilize their resources without resorting to such embarrassing investigative techniques," Lehigh County Judge Robert L. Steinberg said in a written opinion that the appeals court cited at length.
At first, it had all the makings of a good bust, after the john approached state police to say he had been solicited for sex at the Shiatsu Spa. He had come forwarded, he said, because he was offended by the offer. Troopers then supplied the unnamed man with government money—$360 total to pay for the services that allegedly involved Chon and another woman, plus the extra $180 for his time—and sent him back not once but four times.
"The outrageous nature is it went beyond what was necessary to prove the prostitution charge," said Chon's lawyer. The Superior Court opinion also recounted how police and the informant were recorded laughing about the sexual encounters.
"It is difficult to imagine how this informant could have been so offended, and yet proceed to engage in oral and sexual intercourse with the two women in this case and laugh about it with the investigating troopers after each occasion," wrote Judge John T. Bender for the three-judge appeals court panel.
The Lehigh County DA is reviewing the decision, but is not expected to ask for a review by a full panel of the appeals court. A police spokesperson said the actions by the troopers were dealt with internally.