The city council in Marion is set to discuss a plan tonight that would bring changes for massage parlors in the eastern Iowa town. The proposed ordinance comes after police were tipped off that some were offering more than massages.

Within the last year, Marion Police arrested four women for prostitution at Asian Massage and Massage Heaven. Marion Police Lieutenant Scott Elam says the ordinance would require anyone running a massage parlor in Marion to provide documentation of a state license before getting the city’s approval.

“After the instances that we had with the prostitution charges in the massage parlors, we just thought the city ordinance needed a little more work,” Elam said. “The way it was written before, there was no requirement to have a state license in order to get the city license.”

Lorice Amlin lives in Marion and has been a licensed massage therapist for 20 years. She said she’s been working a long time to fight the stereotype a few bad massage businesses can bring to the industry.

In addition, Amlin believes someone could get hurt if the individual giving the massage isn’t properly trained. “As a licensed massage therapist, we welcome the licensing and the regulation because it provides protection for the consumer,” Amlin said. Investigators said the ordinance is one more way to prevent any more illegal activity.

“The problem wasn’t huge here, and I think we’ve dealt with it, but we just wanted to make that sure we didn’t have problems with it in the future,” Lt. Elam said. The city attorney believes most Marion massage businesses currently have legitimate, licensed therapists.

By Jill Kasperie, KCRG-TV, Cedar Rapids