The taxpayer-funded entrapment of dancers at at Upstate, S.C. strip club was far worse – and far more costly – than it has been portrayed in court, sources familiar with the situation tell us.
According to prosecutors, law enforcement officers spent $26,000 (money ostensibly obtained from civil asset forfeiture) on multiple visits to Platinum Plus – a strip club located in Greenville, S.C.
We’re told the real total is substantially higher.
Most of the dancers arrested in conjunction with these raids took plea deals, but one dancer – 21-year-old Aimee Joy Harms – fought the law (and won).
Harms’ victory over unjustified prostitution charges has emboldened supporters of the club – who are now stepping forward and providing us with some galling specifics of this sanctimonious police action.
According to these sources, the government’s narrative of multiple undercover deputies spending approximately $26,000 on lap dances and alcoholic drinks is a heavily-redacted version of the story.
Two dancers who witnessed the police action say Greenville deputies did much more than just “drink” – they got hammered.
“They were falling down drunk,” one dancer told us. “They were shit-faced – and totally getting off on (the dances).”
Another dancer confirmed that the deputies “would get so drunk they tripped over chairs.”
Our sources also say the deputies – in addition to deriving considerable gratification during the raids – repeatedly attempted to convince the dancers into performing inappropriate sex acts that were in violation of the club’s policies (and against the will of the dancers themselves).
“I’ve seen them trying to coerce dancers and myself into doing things we didn’t want to do, flashing their money around,” one dancer told us.
Coercing young women into performing sex acts against their will? That sounds like borderline sexual assault to us.
We’ve been provided with some pretty graphic details of these alleged encounters but we’re saving those details – as well as the names of several of the officers involved – for a future report.
Finally, from a taxpayers’ perspective, we’re told the police estimate of $26,000 spent on alcohol and dances at this club falls well south of the actual amount of public money expended.
“They spent A LOT MORE THAN 26k trust me,” one dancer told us.
As we’ve noted throughout our coverage of this story, we oppose efforts by police to shut down a perfectly legal business simply because certain politically-connected members of the community don’t like it.
Seriously: If you don’t enjoy strip clubs, don’t go to strip clubs.
That’s an individual choice – and individuals have the right to make it for themselves. What they don’t have the right to do – at least not in this situation – is impose their choice on others.
Speaking of, we’ve long believed prostitution should be decriminalized – especially in a state as dirt poor as this one. If dancers want to sell or expose their bodies for money – they should be able to do so.
Whatever you think about that debate, though, government has absolutely no right to take the money it seizes from citizens and spend it on entrapment efforts like this.
Also, intoxicated law enforcement officers have absolutely no right to pressure dancers into doing things they don’t want to do – especially under false pretenses.
Obviously we are just getting warmed up with our coverage of this scandal. Stay tuned for much more as we dig deeper into what really happened at this club …