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Lap Dance Video Shown To Judge in Spicy Gentlemen’s Club Case

LOS ANGELES – A judge considering whether a Santa Fe Springs strip club can continue offering adult entertainment was shown a videotape in court this week of an undercover sheriff’s deputy getting a lap dance.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael C. Solner was expressionless as he viewed the grainy black-and-white tape as part of the evidence the city of Santa Fe Springs presented in the non-jury trial of its lawsuit against the Spicy Gentleman’s Club at 12215 E. Slauson Ave.

The city maintains the club is operating in a manufacturing zone in violation of the city code. Earlier this month, Solner issued a preliminary injunction ordering the club to stop offering adult entertainment from 2 a.m. on July 4.

But the 2nd District Court of Appeal issued a stay on July 3, blocking the preliminary injunction and allowing nude dancing and lap dancing to continue pending the outcome of the trial. The trial is being held to determine whether a permanent injunction should be issued against the establishment.

The videotape was narrated in court by Sheriff’s Detective Gary Furuyama, who said he investigates vice crimes and went to the club on April 10 with two fellow detectives at the request of the city and the Whittier Police Department, which patrols Santa Fe Springs.

Furuyama, who did not say exactly where the hidden camera was placed on his body, testified he was approached by a bleach-blond dancer named Hennessy shortly after she left the stage. The woman groped him and offered him a lap dance for $40, which he accepted, he said.

Furuyama said the dancer escorted him to a set of cubicles in the back of the building, where he sat on down on a bench-like seat and she took her seat on a stool.

The videotape depicts the dancer grinding against the detective, rubbing her breasts in his face for several seconds and stimulating herself about two feet from his face. At one point, the dancer reached back and touches Furuyama in a way he said was meant to arouse him.

The dancer wore a dress, which she pulled up and down to reveal her body during the lap dance. At times the woman’s gyrations blocked the lens of the camera. Furuyama said he became concerned that she might notice the hidden device.

“I was worried because the dancer was looking right at it,” Furuyama said.

When the music stopped at the end of the performance, the dancer had yet another proposition for Furuyama, he testified.

“She offered to take me into the back room,” Furuyama said. “She mentioned it would cost me $150.”

The detective said he declined.

Furuyama testified he had a second lap dance that night with another woman, Raylene, who stripped completely nude before the music even started and later invited him to touch her while she was going about her activities.

“I didn’t want to invite suspicion, so I brushed against her leg area …,” Furuyama testified.

Deborah Fox, an attorney for the city, maintains the videotape is proof the club is offering services not protected by the First Amendment.

Another witness, Whittier police Detective Michael Redmon, testified a club bouncer was shot three times and wounded last Aug. 18 by a gang member who, along with a second man, had earlier been ejected from the establishment.

A fourth bullet, fired from outside, pierced the club wall and almost hit a dancer, Redmon said.

The city filed suit against the club on May 1 and contends that the establishment is a public nuisance. Adult entertainment can only be offered in specified commercial areas of Santa Fe Springs, and alternate sites are available, according to the city’s court papers.

Club attorney Roger Jon Diamond said that his client knew he was operating his business in the wrong zone, but chose to do so to test the constitutionality of the ordinance. He said none of the alternate sites are suitable.

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