Alex Massie

When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied...

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Radley Balko is right. Faced with the prospect of a global financial meltdown (perhaps!) this is the sort of cheery story we need. If this doesn't restore your faith in the United States of America, what can?

State attorneys say John LaVoie should be forever barred from the massage business because he ran a house of prostitution camouflaged as a church.

But in his latest court argument, the Tucson man says he hired women at Angel's Heaven Relaxation Spa — near University Medical Center — not to sell sex but to comfort the afflicted through the religious act of "laying on of hands."

... LaVoie is now citing constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion. "This offer of comfort by this means is based on several Biblical passages," wrote attorney Brad Roach, who is representing LaVoie while seeking election as Pima County attorney.

LaVoie, who testified he is the pastor of the Church of Liberty, "has every right under the First Amendment to freely exercise his religion, which religion includes offering comfort through the laying on of hands," Roach wrote in an objection to the proposed order of forfeiture.

Alex Mahon, an Arizona assistant attorney general, responded that LaVoie never argued at trial that laying on of hands was part of church ceremonies. In fact, the evidence showed his "angels" were lay people committing acts of prostitution with the spa's male customers, Mahon wrote.

...Whatever they offered, LaVoie's "angels" operated out of an office building at 1740 E. Lester St., northwest of Campbell and Speedway.

The Angel's Heaven Web site displayed portraits of young women over trademarked names.

"Oriental Angel" described as 5-foot-2 with dark brown hair and hazel eyes, invited visitors to discover "Far East delight."

Brown-eyed "Passion Angel" peered out over this message: "Come to Angel's Heaven now and be touched by an angel willing to take you to heaven and back."

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

Topics in this articleSociety