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Couple Charged With Human Trafficking at Norwell Spa

Prosecutors say a masseuse grabbed an undercover police officer's penis and offered him sexual conduct for a fee, which the officer paid with marked bills.

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A couple is facing human trafficking charges after an investigation at a Massachusetts day spa.

The Plymouth County District Attorney's Office said a man and a woman from Malden has been running a prostitution operation out of Platinum Body Works Day Spa in Norwell. Prosecutors say a worker touched an undercover police officer's penis before he paid her for "sexual conduct."

Robert Eckhardt, 68, was arraigned Monday on charges of trafficking a person for sexual servitude, deriving support from prostitution and misleading an officer. His wife, 63-year-old Xiangmei Eckhardt, was arraigned on the same trafficking and prostitution charges.

The couple pleaded not guilty. Bail was set at $20,000 for Robert Eckhardt and $15,000 for Xiangmei Eckhardt.

According to the DA's office, an undercover Norwell Police officer reported that a female masseuse was giving him a body massage when she "grabbed his penis and offered to engage in sexual conduct for a fee." Authorities say the officer paid with marked dollar bills.

On Feb. 20, prosecutors say police executed a search warrant and seized more than $858 in cash, including the marked bills, as well as a video camera system, an appointment binder, a daily ledger, baby oil and latex gloves.

The suspects are due back in court on March 29.

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