A woman who works at a Tulsa massage parlor that is under investigation for possible human trafficking has been charged with trying to persuade colleagues to not testify against their employer.
Stefanie Lea Thomas, 30, was charged Thursday in Tulsa County District Court with intimidation of a witness. She was arrested on a warrant and booked into the Tulsa Jail, with bail set at about $25,000.
Thomas is the manager of the Break Room Massage Parlor in the 4000 block of South Fulton Avenue. The owner, 44-year-old Willie Charles Whitman, was arrested earlier this month as the result of an undercover police operation.
Whitman is charged with two counts of human trafficking, unlawful use of video surveillance equipment in the commission of a felony and possession of a firearm after a felony conviction.
On the night of Whitman’s arrest, he called Thomas from the county jail and told her he “needed the other girls in the shop to go to court and say that he was not human trafficking anyone,” an affidavit states. She reportedly responded, “I got that covered for you.”
When asked whether one woman was “solid,” Thomas replied in an angry tone that “she better be,” the affidavit states.
Authorities say Thomas then called several other women who work at the business and inquired about their conversations with police. She reportedly asked one woman whether she still was on their side, to which she responded, “Yes, as far as I know.”
The affidavit, which was written by an officer working undercover at the massage parlor, alleges that Thomas continued to help Whitman persuade or intimidate some of the employees not to testify or to change their testimony. One of the women had been summoned to court in relation to Whitman’s human-trafficking case.
Thomas is scheduled to appear in court Aug. 31.