Nearly four months after a Stillwater woman was arrested over running her "Taboo Goddess" business in a city neighborhood, the legality of her sexual-domination operation remains undecided.

Vigilant neighbors blew the whistle on Kristal Taylor's alleged "sex dungeon" business in August after they noticed men coming and going at all hours from a rented split-level house. The business, which city officials contend was operating illegally in close proximity to Stillwater Junior High School, was advertised on a website that included pictures of Taylor with tools of her trade.

Taylor, 41, also known as Kristal Zimmerman, was arrested in September on suspicion of prostitution. She hasn't been charged with a crime nor has she been cleared of accusations.

City Attorney Dave Magnuson refused to talk about the case Thursday.

But the investigating officer, police Sgt. Jeff Stender, admitted to some frustration that the case remains unresolved.

"I think it's high time that we make a decision one way or another," said Stender, whose investigation included interviews with four men who told police they paid for sexual domination, according to a search warrant affidavit filed in Washington County District Court.

Stender said the case is more complicated than some investigations into alleged prostitution where officers go undercover to witness money changing hands. The search warrant describes police interviewing men, after they left the house on Everett Street South, who said they paid $150 each for sexual gratification from bondage, spanking and, in one case, "to be tied up and slapped around."

Taylor didn't have a license to operate Taboo Goddess and under city ordinances couldn't operate a sex-oriented business in a neighborhood anyway, the city's development director, Bill Turnblad, said in September.

Taylor declined to comment this week. "Domination is not prostitution ... nor am I selling sex," she said on her website, which remains published. However, the customer phone number listed there has been disconnected.

Stender said he's aware that many people see the work of a dominatrix as a private matter between two consenting adults.

"I'm not going to get into a debate over whether prostitution should or should not be legal," he said. "The fact of the matter is that the statute talks about sexual gratification ... and if you exchange money that's prostitution."

On Wednesday, Stender counted four similar Minneapolis businesses advertised on a "certain website" that promotes sexual domination. In addition to state law, tolerance for Taboo Goddess-like businesses varies from city to city, he said.

"Fortunately for all the naysayers out there, there's not a lot of this type of enforcement going on in the metro area," he said. "In Stillwater, the community standard is the neighbors didn't like it."

Kevin Giles • 651-735-3342