This story comes straight out of the WTF files. A 14-year-old girl was allegedly kidnapped, sexually assaulted numerous times, and forced to perform at a strip club. Everyone involved agrees that the girl, who again is 14, did indeed perform there. There is absolutely no debate about that particular aspect at all, in fact. And yet, somehow the strip club is now suing the 14-year-old and her parents.
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.”
The club and their lawyers, of course, are claiming that the girl looked “very mature” and so the club couldn’t possibly have known. Even state officials are refuting that claim by stating that the girl clearly looks to be her actual age. This, of course, is very likely true.
What seems to be missing though is the fact that even if she looked 25, it’s still the club’s responsibility to ensure that they do not have minors working in their clubs. When did “she looked older” become an excuse? (And when did “look at what she was wearing!” become the same as “she looked older”? Nice attempt at slut-shaming, though.) It’s not an excuse. Just like “I thought that we were following the fire safety code” and “it seemed like we paid our taxes” aren’t excuses either. Except, you know, this version involves an exploited child.
And then there are those exceedingly relevant charges of kidnapping, assault and forced work at the club. What’s most interesting of all is that Leslie Campbell, the man alleged to have kidnapped and assaulted the girl and forced her to work at the club, is also being sued. It would seem that if the club actually did have the grounds to sue anyone (and I don’t think they do — again, they’re the ones who illegally “hired” the girl), he would be the correct person. And yet, they also deny the sequence of events that led to the girl being hired by the club!
So, really, Cheetah Club, what is it? Did the girl seek “employment” at your establishment of her own free will, thus making her subject to your lawsuit, or did Campbell actually force her to work there, thus making him the one to blame? You can’t have it both ways.
Unless, of course, you think that a kidnapped, assaulted and essentially enslaved girl is actually to blame for her the crimes committed against her. Which is precisely what this whole thing reeked of from the very start.