Officials look to shut down suburban photo studio allegedly offering sex services

WHEATON (Sun-Times Media Wire) - Officials in DuPage County announced a lawsuit Thursday that aims to shut down a Wheaton photography studio that has allegedly been operating as an escort service.

Authorities allege that Hot Shots Photography Studio, 0N758 Gary Ave., has been advertising itself as a legitimate photo company while actually offering sexual services to customers, according to a statement from the DuPage County state’s attorney’s office. The suit claims Hot Shots has flouted county ordinances and state laws that prohibit adult businesses from operating in certain areas.

The state’s attorney’s office claims Hot Shots has advertised on adult websites that escort services commonly use to place personal ads. According to prosecutors, people responding to those ads were first screened by an employee and then directed to the address on Gary, which is located within 1,000 feet of both Wheaton North High School’s athletic fields and a residential area.

When customers showed up at the studio, they were immediately hit with a $100 cover fee before being brought to a room to discuss services and fees, which ranged from $500 to $1,500, prosecutors said. Employees then took payments before performing sexual acts.

Since November, undercover officers with the DuPage County sheriff’s office have been investigating Hot Shots, prosecutors said.

The findings of that investigation led to the lawsuit, which holds that Hot Shots violated county ordinances by operating as an adult business near a residential area, a school and a recreational facility, prosecutors said. Additionally, the suit claims Hot Shots violated a state law that bars adult businesses from operating within a mile of a school.

“The type of establishment allegedly operated by Hot Shots has no business being located anywhere near a residential area, school or any other location where children are present,” DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said in the statement.

The suit seeks to permanently ban Hot Shots from operating an adult business at its existing studio or any other prohibited area in unincorporated DuPage County.