March 01, 2000 09:00am
A Checkup on 'Love Doctor'
Source: L. A. Times
by: John L. Mitchell
Across the Internet and on the local public access channels, Susan Block is known as "the love doctor"--a hot-talking sex therapist who titillates her audiences with frank discussions about sex.
But late Saturday, just before she was about to tape her weekly sex advice show, Block said she was shocked speechless by what she saw as she walked out of her dressing room.
There in the middle of her studio and erotic museum in a downtown Los Angeles warehouse were two dozen heavily armed LAPD officers who had arrived, they said, after receiving a report of a robbery in progress.
"I was afraid I was going to get shot," said Block, who was scantily clad in high heels, lingerie and a red velvet robe. "I threw my hands up in the air and my robe opened up."
One of the officers recognized Block immediately: "I remember you," he told her. "Aren't you the woman who likes to interview people on the bed?"
The officers, who sealed off the area and even brought in a helicopter to help with the search, ordered all nine studio employees to stand against the wall and be frisked, she said.
Within minutes it was clear that no robbery had been committed. No suspects were found. No one was arrested.
But the officers did not leave. Instead, they called in the vice squad.
"Once they realized there was no robbery, they observed what appeared to be possible violations--prostitution and / or the distribution of obscene material," said Sgt. John Pasquariello, a department spokesman. "They decided to investigate it further."
Police have investigated Block before.
Two years ago, she was filming her show at a house in the Hollywood Hills and undercover officers broke it up. She as cited for filming in a residential area.
"That's why we moved downtown," said Max Lobkowicz, executive producer of the show and Block's husband.
Joe Gunn, executive director of the Police Commission, said a complaint against the officers filed by Lobkowicz is being investigated.
Despite it all, Lobkowicz had praise for some of the officers. "They were polite and several apologized for disrupting the show." he said.
Eventually, Block was able to go on with the show, even though her interview of a 1980s porn star in front of 50 guests was an hour late, she said.
"It was very unsettling," said Block, referring to the officers who inspected the tape archives and even looked in the refrigerator.
One of the officers, she said, looked disapprovingly at the erotic works on the wall.
Glancing at the accouterments, Block defended herself.
"Chefs have cooking shows and they are surrounded by pots and pans," she said. "I'm the Martha Stewart of sex."