Saturday, July 27, 2002

Jury acquits Bristol's dancer


2 dozen others face trial after raid in March

By Steve Eder, seder@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — Score one for Bristol's Show Club and Revue.

        A jury Friday found 27-year-old dancer Terri Thornton of Cincinnati not guilty on prostitution charges stemming from her employment as a dancer at the club off Ohio 63 in Monroe.

        Ms. Thornton — known on stage as “Toy” — was the first to go on trial of more than two dozen people who were charged in connection with a raid at the club in March.

        If convicted, she faced a maximum of a $500 fine and 60 days in jail on the misdemeanor charge.

        A four-month undercover investigation resulted in arrests of bartenders, managers and dancers for alleged prostitution, cocaine trafficking and liquor violations. Several of those charged have accepted plea agreements and other cases are set for trial or pending in Lebanon Municipal Court and Warren County Common Pleas Court.

        The undercover officers who carried out the investigation testified against Ms. Thornton at the one-day municipal court trial before Judge Mark Bogen, saying she engaged in sexual acts with a fellow dancer in exchange for money. Ms. Thornton denied those claims.

        “I think the jury just didn't believe the testimony of the officers, as we put forth,” said James Hartke, Ms. Thornton's attorney. “They listened to all the evidence and did the right thing and found her not guilty.”

        Ms. Thornton, who is married with three children, said she has been in the adult dancing business since age 18 and has worked for clubs in at least four states.

        After the trial Terry Wolfe, the husband of the owner said, “It is nice to know the system works.”

        Mr. Wolfe and his wife, Giselle, are also accused of alcohol violations, and plan to take their cases to trial.

       



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