CORPUS CHRISTI — No one sued Traci Lords when she defrauded her way into the adult industry at 16 and made dozens of sexually explicit movies before revealing all and going on to a lucrative mainstream career. The same was true of underage starlet Alexandria Quinn, although Adam & Eve took the moral high road in refusing to distribute any movies in which she appeared after her "comeback."
But a similar high road is being taken by Club Cheetah, which last week filed a lawsuit seeking a declaratory judgment that the nightclub did no wrong when it mistakenly hired a 14-year-old girl with a phony driver's license to perform on its stage, as well as unspecified damages from the girl, her parents ... and her alleged kidnapper.
According to the suit filed on behalf of the club by attorney Alan Yaffe, the unidentified girl was allegedly kidnapped from her home in San Antonio in March by Leslie Campbell, who allegedly took the girl to Corpus Christi and sexually assaulted her over the course of a week, then had her apply for a job at Club Cheetah using the fake ID and the right wardrobe.
"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 told the San Antonio Express-News. "There was no real kidnapping. We're the victims here, sir. My clients are the victims."
Fred Jimenez, who represents club manager Jeffery Shawn Martinez, who's been accused of "employment harmful to a minor" and "sexual performance of a child," agreed.
"The minor walked in there with a fake ID and presented herself to be 22 years old," Jimenez said. "She looks very mature."
But Sgt. John Mann of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, who's seen a photo of the girl, disagreed.
"I've seen this young lady's picture, and I assure you she is a 14-year-old seventh-grader," Mann said. "I personally think any reasonable and prudent person could tell you that is an underage girl."
Reports don't state whether the girl was wearing makeup in the photo Mann examined.
Supposedly, the ruse unraveled when the girl flagged down a Corpus Christi police officer in late March, saying she'd been kidnapped but had escaped while her captor was in the shower. Why the youngster hadn't attempted a similar escape while at the strip club in front of dozens of patrons is unclear — and may be the genesis of Yaffe's claim that the club had been "flimflammed" into hiring her.
"We're the victims of their criminal conspiracy," Yaffe said.
Although no legal action has yet been taken against the club, Yaffe is including Corpus Christi Police Chief Michael Walsh as a defendant in the suit because Walsh is the official with responsibility for issuing sexually oriented business permits in the city. The suit charges that the actions of Campbell and the youngster caused damage or potential damage to the club, including possible interference with the club's sexually oriented business permit, the wrongful arrest of Martinez and the club's loss of reputation in the community.