Volume 76, Number 43 | March 21 - 27, 2007

Police Blotter

Deep massage
Police arrested Carlos Araque, 44, who operates Essential Therapy, a massage therapy studio at 122 E. 25th St., on March 9 and charged him with sexual abuse of a woman client, sexual misconduct and practicing massage therapy without a license. He pleaded not guilty on Sat., March 10, and was released on $1,500 bail pending an April 10 court appearance.

A client reported that Araque, who lives in Stuyvesant Town at 321 Avenue C, touched her genitals and performing oral sex against her will while treating her on Jan. 30, according to charges filed by Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau. The police Special Victims Unit is investigating allegations that Araque made sexual advances to a woman therapist at the studio.

Araque claimed in his promotion material to have given massage therapy to ballplayers on the New York Mets and to Radio City Music Hall Rockettes. A Mets spokesperson said Araque had sporadically given massages to a few players about two years ago but the team had no official massage therapist. The state Attorney General’s Office of Professions said that Araque has never had a valid license for massage therapy, according to the charges.

Araque’s attorney, Brett Harrison, said his client absolutely denies all of the allegations.

Dead on subway
Transit police responding to a report of a man unconscious on an uptown-bound F train at the W. Fourth St. I.N.D. station found the victim at about 12:45 p.m. Sat., March 17. An Emergency Medical Service team declared the man, described only as Asian and about 40 years old, dead at the scene. The Medical Examiner’s Office is investigating the cause of death. As of Tues., March 20, police were unable to identify the man.

Strip club extortion
Two men charged with extorting hundreds of thousands of dollars from V.I.P. Club, the adult entertainment venue at 20 W. 20th St., during the period from the mid-1990s until 2002, went on trial last week in Manhattan Federal Court.

Salvatore Scala, 64, who served time after conviction in an unrelated case, is charged with initiating the extortion, and an associate, Thomas Sassano, 61, is charged with taking part in the scheme that netted them so much money from V.I.P. Club owners that the strip club couldn’t pay its 2002 taxes.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said on March 20 that the trial was still going on.

Knockoff knockdown
A First Precinct officer was severely cut on the right hand and upper chest at about 3 p.m. Wed., March 14, when he and a suspected illegal vendor of counterfeit trademark goods fell through a plate-glass window at 321 Church St. at Canal St., police said.

The vendor, Azou Ba, 29, of West New York, N.J., struggled with the officer, who was arresting him, when they both crashed through the window. The officer was taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital and had seven stitches in his hand and 10 in his upper chest. The vendor was treated for minor injuries at St. Vincent’s and was charged with first-degree assault, second-degree reckless endangerment, trademark counterfeit and resisting arrest.

Drunk driving
Police arrested Christopher Coffey, 27, former deputy commissioner of Mayor Bloomberg’s Community Assistance Unit, at about 11 p.m. on Thurs., March 15, on Ninth Ave. at W. 17th St. and charged him with driving while intoxicated. According to news reports, Coffey had left a bar at the Maritime Hotel, where he had been celebrating his new job, and just gotten into a car. The Bloomberg administration is said to be reconsidering Coffey’s assignment to a post at the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation.

Albert Amateau

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