Week in Review: Massage Parlors Busted, Magic Store Stays Open, Medford Bus Lines Cut

Some of the top stories in Medford this week.

After all of the talk, public hearings, and protests over the past three months, the MBTA Board voted Wednesday afternoon to boost fares 23 percent and cut back service in an attempt to close a projected $161 million deficit in the next fiscal year. Board members approved a plan in a 4-1 vote that would raise most subway fares by 30 cents, bus fares by 25 cents, and commuter rail fares by at least $1.25. The plan also calls to eliminate two bus routes that serve Medford: The 355, and the 710. The 710 route -- operated by Joseph's Transportation -- includes North Medford, Lawrence Memorial Hospital, and Wellington Station. The 355 is an express bus that runs from Woburn to Boston with a stop in Medford Square.

Two women face charges stemming from offering sexual services at Medford massage parlors, according to a Medford Police press release. Baojuan Shi, 49 of New York City, and Simone Santos, 39, of Malden were both arrested Thursday and charged with sexual conduct for a fee, according to the release, written by Lt. Paul Covino. Santos was also in the country illegally, police said. Shi worked at Mixue Spa at 397 Main Street, while Santos worked at Lavish Spa at 407 Mystic Ave., the release said. Citizen complaints led police investigate the spas, Covino wrote.

The owner of Hank Lee's Magic Factory in Medford has agreed to plead guilty to making over $500,000 in unauthorized transactions on a customer's credit card, but the magic trick store apparently has no plans to close. Harry Levy, 61, of Lexington agreed to plead guilty Friday to one count of credit card fraud and one count of making false statements , according to court documents. As of Monday morning, the store's website remained open for business and the phones were still being answered at Hank Lee's Magic Factory. A man who answered the phone Monday said Levy would not comment on the case.

Medford Police Station Review in Early Stages: About a half dozen architects toured Medford Police Headquarters Tuesday, after the city put out a request seeking qualified firms for a facilities evaluation. The city council's subcommittee on public safety met with Tuesday with Police Chief Leo Sacco intending to discuss possible alternative locations for the police department, but ending up deciding to wait until they hear more from design firms first. The facilities evaluation is expected to include an evaluation of the current site and potential new locations, a pre-schematic design plan, projected cost of the facility and potential funding options, according to the request for qualifications. Interested firms are expected to submit paperwork to the city by April 11.

Former Grace Church Rector Accused of Sexual Abuse: The former rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Medford has been removed from priesthood and is under investigation by Medford Police on allegations of sexual assault, according to a report in Tuesday's Boston Globe. Robert M. Durkee, 85, was removed from the preisthood last week after a woman accused him of sexually abusing her in 1980 while she was in college, the Globe report said. Two more women came forward after his dismissal who alleged Durkee abused them during counseling sessions in 1983, the report said. Durkee served as rector at Grace Church for 25 years, and also as the state's military chaplain and the division chaplain for the 26th Yankee Infantry Division during that time, according to a Military Chaplains Association publication from 1996.


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