Tuesday, November 21, 2017 Elyria 42°

Cops and Courts

Former prostitute released on parole


A former prostitute whose four- to 25-year prison term was delayed by 19 years because her case got lost in the legal system was released on parole last month.

Yong Ran Myers, 63, was sent to prison to serve out the sentence in August 2011, almost two decades after she was convicted in 1992 of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and promoting prostitution. She had been freed on $20,000 bond while she appealed that conviction in1992. After she lost her appeal, she was never called to serve out her sentence.

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction discovered the error in 2011. In the intervening years, Myers got married, did charity work and didn’t get into further trouble with the law.

“The inmate has no extensive criminal history; has served a significant time for her offense; and the inmate was in the community and crime-free for several years after her conviction,” the Ohio Parole Board wrote in its decision to release Myers.

James McClain, Myers’ attorney, said his client was grateful that she was released on parole and has returned to her family in Cleveland.

Myers’ journey through the criminal justice system began in the early 1990s when she was arrested while working at the Shang Hai spa in Elyria. Police accused her of performing both massages and sexual favors for clients as well as helping the owner of the spa, Cham Pun Gassner, run the spa and keep the books.

Despite the clean record she maintained while free, once the state realized that Myers hadn’t served her sentence, Lorain County Prosecutor Dennis Will and county Common Pleas Judge Christopher Rothgery have said they had little choice but to follow through on the sentence imposed on Myers years before.

But McClain said both Will and Rothgery didn’t oppose Myers’ early release, which he felt went a long way toward convincing the Parole Board to grant her parole request.

Myers also had applied for executive clemency from Ohio Gov. John Kasich. McClain said information from that request also was considered by the Parole Board, which makes clemency recommendations to the governor. Now that Myers is free, McClain said, he doesn’t believe she will continue to push for clemency.

In Myers’ clemency application, McClain wrote that his client came over from Korea as the fiancé of an American soldier who died before they married not long after they came to this country.

After her run-in with the law, McClain wrote, Myers met a Cleveland family with ties to a local Korean Christian church and turned her life around. The delay in serving her time was caused by Myers’ limited English and understanding of American justice system rather than a deliberate attempt to avoid her prison sentence, McClain wrote.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.

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