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Charges dismissed in Woodbury massage parlor sex assault case

Charges were dropped last month against a man accused of trying to force himself on a Woodbury masseuse.

Two counts of criminal sexual conduct were dismissed against St. Paul resident Houa Lor at a Sept. 23 hearing. The case had been set for a Sept. 26 jury trial.

The case was dropped after police investigators lost touch with the alleged victim, a 24-year-old woman. Investigators had not been able to reach the woman for more than two months prior to the dismissal hearing, said First Assistant Washington County Attorney Steve Povolny.

"We did everything we could," said Povolny said. "Having exhausted all those (options), we're left with no choice."

Earlier police statements do not represent enough evidence to present a strong argument in court, he said.

"She's a very important part of the case," Povolny said.

Lor had been accused in an April 10 incident at Woodbury Oriental Massage - the troubled Hudson Road location that investigators say has since closed its doors. According to a criminal complaint, Lor arranged a massage at the business, where he was expressly told no sexual contact was to occur.

Not long after the female masseuse began the massage, Lor showered her with compliments and allegedly began manhandling her. Prosecutors said Lor flipped the woman onto the massage table and got on top of her, where he ripped her shirt off and began unbuttoning her pants.

The struggle ended after another employee there heard the commotion and ordered Lor out of the parlor.

In an interview with police, Lor explained that he went to the Woodbury massage parlor under advice from a friend that "you can pretty much do anything you want to the other person."

When it became clear the massage was not going to involve sexual contact, Lor "thought his friend had lied to him" the complaint states. He admitted to manhandling the woman and pursuing a sex act with her.

The woman later reported being unable to eat and having nightmares that stemmed from the incident.

While Lor no longer faces the felony charges, it's still possible for him to be charged again if the alleged victim re-emerges, Povolny said.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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