Arizona attorneys say an Arizona pastor should be barred from the massage business after authorities reportedly discovered that he was running a house of prostitution under the guise of a church.
According to the Arizona Daily Star, Pastor John LaVoie of the Church of Liberty in Tucson, Ariz., ran a day-spa where he claims his female "angel" staff was merely “laying hands” — a traditional Christian healing practice — on patrons.
But authorities say that employees at the Angel’s Heaven Relaxation Spa were hardly doing holy work and were instead selling sex, the Star reported.
In July, a jury found against LaVoie on 22 counts of racketeering, money-laundering and other offenses related to prostitution in a civil forfeiture.
The final court order from the Arizona Attorney General would call for LaVoie to forfeit $2 million in cash and real estate, and permanently bar him from the massage business, the Star reported.
But LaVoie is fighting the charges by citing his constitutional guarantees freedom of religion.
LaVoie also avoided criminal charges after a Tucson police detective compromised the investigation when he confessed to having sex with one of LaVoie’s angels in 2004, the Star said.
State officials are awaiting word from the judge to move forward.
“We are hoping that the judge signs the order as soon as possible so that we can begin with eviction proceedings,” an Attorney General spokeswoman told the Star.