Cloquet massage therapist pleads guilty in sexual assault case
The man was accused of sexually assaulting a client in August 2021 at Hong Kong Spa.
CARLTON — A Cloquet man pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct after being accused of sexually assaulting a woman during a massage at the Hong Kong Spa in 2021.
Shuwen Liang, 54, entered an Alford plea in State District Court in Carlton on Thursday, March 23. The plea allows him to claim innocence, while acknowledging there is sufficient evidence for a jury to find him guilty.
Liang could face 15 years in prison, a $30,000 fine or both.
A psychosexual evaluation was also ordered by Judge Amy Lukasavitz, to determine the defendant's need for sex offender treatment prior to sentencing.
According to the criminal complaint, a woman scheduled a massage with Liang at the spa in 2021.
The woman stated she had prior massages with Liang, but at the August 2021 appointment, she said Liang tried to arouse her. She told authorities she "freaked out" about what was happening and her body froze, according to the complaint.
When she asked Liang what he was doing, he allegedly apologized and left the room.
A sentencing hearing for Liang has been set for June 23.