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Minnehaha not so haha: Annabelle’s Owner Fights Accusations of Rape

South Dakota- The owner of a number of controversial businesses is now the subject of controversy himself.

Two former employees of adult stores Annabelle’s and Olivia’s are asking a judge to order owner David Eliason to stay away from them for five years. They spent the day testifying at a protection order hearing in Minnehaha County, where they came forward with accusations of threats, sexual harrassment, and even rape.

It’s very important to note that David Eliason is not charged with a crime, even though the young women told their stories to police in December.

Eliason denies all the accusations. And when the court hearing resumes tomorrow, he plans to put witnesses on the stand to dispute the accusers’ stories.

The first woman to testify against David Eliason says the sexual harrassment began during her job interview at the Sioux Falls adult store Annabelle’s.

She says Eliason pulled out five $100 bills and told the woman she could have them if she did anything he wanted for an hour.

She says Eliason constantly made jokes about her and her coworkers’ sex lives. But her most serious accusation is that Eliason raped her. In court, she wept while telling the judge Eliason shut the door of his office, handed her a sex toy, and proceeded to force her into sex. She says afterward, Eliason told her to keep her mouth shut. She felt threatened, so she did.

The second woman who wants a protection order against Eliason worked at his other local adult store, Olivia’s. She says Eliason raped her three times, including once on a trip to North Carolina to open a new store.

In cross examination, Eliason’s lawyer Tom Wilka showed discrepancies in women’s testimony.

He pointed out that the two women turned in their protection order applications together, implying they collaborated their stories.

Wilka questioned both women on why they continued to work at the stores for months after the alleged incidents, and why neither of them went to the police until they got together months later and shared their stories.

The hearing is scheduled to continue tomorrow, where the women’s lawyer Manny deCastro plans to call witnesses to back up the women’s stories. But David Eliason is aggressively fighting the accusations.

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