Police make arrests in Kenai prostitution, sex trafficking case

A month-long Kenai Police Department investigation has resulted in several arrests and charges of prostitution and sex trafficking in relation to the operation of a Kenai business.

Officers on Thursday night arrested Karen Carpenter, 49, who operated Gifted Hands Massage on Attla Way in Kenai, according to a press release. Carpenter, of Soldotna, was charged with three counts of felony sex trafficking. Those charges were in the first, second and third degrees, in addition to another charge of misdemeanor prostitution.

Officers also arrested Madison Murrieta, 19, of Kenai, for misdemeanor prostitution and issued a summons to 20-year-old Jonah Lange, of Ninilchik, for the same charge.

Kenai Lt. David Ross said Carpenter, Murrieta and Lange were the only three people police were aware of working at the establishment.

Ross said a charge of prostitution is defined as engaging, agreeing to, or offering sexual conduct in return for a fee and sex trafficking is causing or inducing someone to engage in prostitution.

“The different degrees of it have to do with if you cause or induce somebody under the age of 20 to participate in prostitution that is sex trafficking in the first,” he said. “If you cause or induce somebody over the age of 20 that’s a different level of sex trafficking. If you involve two or more persons in prostitution that’s another sex trafficking charge.”

Police said investigation in the case is ongoing.

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