A strip club in Texas that hired a 14-year-old as an exotic dancer says it was swindled and is suing the seventh-grader and her parents.
The girl allegedly exposed her breasts while working at Cheetah Club in Corpus Christi, a violation of state law. Alan Yaffe, the club’s attorney, said the club didn’t know the girl was a minor and disputed the alleged sequence of events that led the teenager to work there in the first place.
“She came (into the club) with 6-inch stiletto heels and a miniskirt and looked just like a model from a Miss America’s contest,” Yaffe said.
Authorities say Leslie Campbell, 48, kidnapped the girl in San Antonio in March, took her to Corpus Christi and sexually assaulted her over the course of a week. He then allegedly gave her a false identification and forced her to strip at the club.
Yaffe called the story bogus, and the club is suing Campbell, the girl and her parents for unspecified damage in a lawsuit filed last week. It also wants a judge to declare that the club didn’t intend to hire a minor.
“There was no real kidnapping,” Yaffe told the San Antonio Express-News. “We’re the victims here, sir. My clients are the victims.”
Campbell was in a Nueces County jail on charges of aggravated sexual assault and aggravated kidnapping. It was not immediately clear Saturday if he had an attorney.
Police also arrested Jeffery Shawn Martinez, a manager at the club, on charges of employment harmful to a minor and sexual performance of a child. He was released on bail. Martinez’s attorney, Fred Jimenez, said his client is not guilty. Jimenez said the girl looked “very mature.”
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Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission Sgt. John Mann scoffed at that characterization.
“I’ve seen this young lady’s picture, and I assure you she is a 14-year-old seventh-grader,” Mann said. “I personally think any reasonable and prudent person could tell you that is an underage girl.”
Authorities say the girl eventually escaped from Campbell and has been reunited with her parents in San Antonio.
Yaffe said the club has also sued Corpus Christi Police Chief Mike Walsh because Walsh issues permits for sexually oriented businesses in the city. A police spokesman declined comment to the newspaper, saying only that the lawsuit speaks for itself.