VIP Sauna owner gets five years’ probation

Tuesday, October 24, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 4:11 a.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

One of the owner/operators of the VIP Sauna was given five years of probation Monday for second-degree promoting prostitution.

Semsettin Gogebakan, 46, of Catousville, Md., received a suspended sentence of four years’ imprisonment for his role in running the Columbia massage parlor at 5210 N. Missouri 763. But the sentencing of Gogebakan’s wife, 44-year-old Ok Hee Kim, was postponed because of difficulties with the telephone being used for an interpretation service in the Boone County courtroom.

The couple pleaded guilty to second-degree promoting prostitution in August. They were arrested by Boone County sheriff’s deputies on suspicion of promoting prostitution on Dec. 10, 2005, at the massage parlor.

Boone County Sheriff’s Detective Clark Luntsford told the Missourian last December that investigators learned that customers would negotiate for services, including sex, by offering what he called “tips.”

Kim kept her head bowed as the court attempted to get the speakerphone set up for a telephone interpreter. But the interpreter could not be heard, and 13th Circuit Court Judge Gary Oxenhandler ended the hearing, which was to be rescheduled.

Jeff Kays, Gogebakan’s attorney, said his client works for the Howard County, Md., Department of Finance. Gogebakan will be allowed to serve his probation in Maryland.

“I’m happy I kept my client out of jail,” Kays said.

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