Belmont city leaders question massage parlors


Massage therapy is booming in Belmont, and city leaders want to make sure they are all legit.

"We are concerned that prostitution is going on," says Belmont Police Lt. Patrick Latteran.

No massage therapists have been arrested for prostitution, but there is real concern now that the state massage watchdog group, California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC), has issued a list of unaccredited training schools.

It turns out 37 of the city's 46 licensed massage therapists got their training at these schools or others CAMTC didn't recognize.

"We identified certain schools that the board does not feel comfortable with this type of recommendation and cannot accept the transcript and the diploma from the school," says Ahmos Netanel from the CAMTC.

Tuesday night, Belmont City Council passed a moratorium to stop any new massage permits from being issued until current therapists can be checked out. The city is also reviewing its own licensing process.

"There should be a clear distinction of therapeutic massage and then there should be adult entertainment, so just split the two completely," says Susan Fleming from the Relaxation Center.

Fleming went to an accredited massage school and posts her CAMTC certification in her business, but at a nearby massage center, there is no information about the therapists' background.

Belmont residents say they do not care how it's done, they want all businesses run legally.

"They should be licensed, they should have all the credits, they should go the right school," said Dani Provatakis from Belmont.

During this 45-day moratorium the city plans to hold hearings and thoroughly review the backgrounds of all the therapists who attended the unaccredited schools.

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