10 Block strip clubs accused of hiring underage dancer Teen-ager to testify in cases, police say

November 15, 1996|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

Police cited the owners of 10 strip clubs on Baltimore's Block last night and plan to file criminal charges against two of them after a 17-year-old female accused the bars of hiring underage dancers.

Police said they will file violation notices with the city liquor board against eight bars and issue criminal summonses ordering the owners of the Stage Door and Club Pussycat to appear in court on charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Sgt. Craig Gentile, who heads the Central District vice unit, said he has been investigating allegations of minors dancing at the clubs for months but now has a witness willing to testify.

Gentile said the girl told police yesterday morning that she had danced in 10 clubs in the past 15 months.

"The bar owners are required to keep employee records," Gentile said. "They are not doing that."

The managers of the two clubs facing criminal charges told Gentile and Officer Carl Brobeker last night that they did not know the girl was 17, police said.

Neither could provide records of her employment, but pulled out index cards filed by stage name with copies of driver's licenses on the back, police said.

Asked if he knew the girl was a minor, Paul Sherwood, the manager of The Stage Door, said: "Absolutely not. I'm a professional. This was a case of pure deception."

The owners face a maximum penalty of $2,500 and three years in jail if convicted of the misdemeanor.

The girl, who ran away from home 15 months ago when she and her Army parents lived at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, was arrested on Aug. 20 by Lt. John Bailey, who said she offered to have sex with him in a back room of the Club Pussycat for $60.

The girl told police and court officials she was 22 and was charged as an adult with prostitution.

She was released on personal bond but did not appear for her next court date.

She was arrested on a warrant last month and spent 30 days in the Central Booking and Intake Facility.

Bailey said a Block bar owner bailed her out of jail a week ago but revoked the bond when the girl decided to quit dancing.

A bail bondsman picked her up but instead of taking her to a juvenile center, Bailey said he shackled her to a bed in his sister's South Baltimore home over this past weekend, finally taking her to jail Monday.

At her court hearing yesterday, Bailey said the judge dropped the adult charges and charged her as a juvenile.

After her court appearance, police said, the girl started naming bars where she had worked -- all of which were cited yesterday.

Gentile said he witnessed the girl dancing in the two clubs brought up on criminal charges.

The other bars cited by police last night were the Club Miami, Two O'Clock Club, 408 Club, Hope Diamond, Chez Joey, Doll House, Dynasty and the Harem.

All could face fines if the liquor board finds evidence of code violations.

Pub Date: 11/15/96

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