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Ellicott City is an unincorporated community and census-designated place in Howard County, Maryland, within the Baltimore metropolitan area. Its population is roughly 73,000. Prostitution is a well-documented problem in the city. For example, a 2005 report said Howard County leaders had long considered brothels, masked as massage parlors, a problem in the county. In 1997, to help guard against massage parlors serving as brothels, the County Council made it illegal to massage a member of the opposite sex unless the masseur or masseuse had received at least 500 hours of training from an approved school and national certification. In September 2005, Howard County police charged three women and one man with prostitution-related crimes in a raid of an illegal Ellicott City massage parlor. Police said that they acted in response to numerous complaints about prostitution taking place at the business on the 9000 block of Chevrolet Drive, which advertised itself as a massage parlor, but was not licensed as one. Police alleged that the employees provided sex acts to customers in exchange for money and that the owner received a portion of those payments. The owner was charged with prostitution, two counts of receiving earnings from it, and two counts of maintaining a brothel. Two female “employees” were charged with prostitution, and one sex buyer caught during the raid was also arrested and charged with engaging in prostitution. In 2006, Howard County vice officers alleged that a 41-year-old college professor and mother of two was running a prostitution enterprise from her Ellicott City home and advertised her services and rates on a website.
In January 2021, a former liquor store clerk was charged with sexually assaulting a female customer while he was working. Howard County police arrested the Silver Spring resident, who was was charged with third- and fourth-degree sex offenses and solicitation of prostitution. Police said a 23-year-old woman reported to police in early January that she was sexually assaulted by a clerk of a liquor store in Ellicott City. Police began investigating and learned that the man, who was alone in the store, engaged the victim in small talk about the store’s inventory and then invited her to accompany him to a walk-in cooler for samples. He then began to sexually assault the victim and offered her money to perform sex acts, which she refused. When the victim tried to leave, he continued to sexually assault her. Detectives confirmed the events of the report through video and physical evidence at the scene. The store management immediately fired the man upon learning of the incident and cooperated with police. The investigation resulted in an arrest warrant for the man, who turned himself in to police. He was released from the Howard County Detention Center on $10,000 bond.
- Howard County Police Department
Sex Buyer Arrest, Identity Disclosure:
- https://www.wbaltv.com/article/liquor-store-clerk-charged-with-sexually-assaulting-customer-in-ellicott-city (2021)
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/bs-xpm (2005)
- https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/academic-arrested-in-prostitution-sting-span-classbankheadellicott-city-woman-used-web-police (2006)
- https://foxbaltimore.com/news/local/20-charged-with-prostitution-or-human-trafficking-in-howard-anne-arundel-co-in (2019)
- https://www.baltimoresun.com/maryland/howard/ph-ho-cf-howard-prostiution-operation (2019)