Archive for Wednesday, June 26, 2002

Nightclub owner pleads no contest to charge

June 26, 2002

A nightclub owner will avoid jail time after pleading no contest Thursday to violating a county resolution he once signed into law as chairman of the Leavenworth County Commission.

Wayne Eldridge, owner and operator of Whispers Cabaret, an adult entertainment business on Kansas Highway 7, pleaded no contest to one count of aiding and abetting public nudity, which is a misdemeanor.

He will pay a $500 fine and all court costs related to his case.

In exchange for the plea, Leavenworth County prosecutors agreed to drop the charges of promoting prostitution and promoting obscenity against Eldridge.

Prosecutors had alleged Eldridge violated the county's anti-nudity resolution, a resolution he had signed when he was chairman of the Leavenworth County Commission.

The charges against him stemmed from a March 2001 investigation by the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Department into activities at Whispers Cabaret.

Two undercover deputies allegedly observed lap dances and topless dancing at Whispers during a visit the pair made on March 8, 2001, according to the charges.

The investigation was conducted after the Basehor Sentinel published a story about activities going on in the club that allegedly violated the county resolution.

Four dancers working at Whispers Cabaret were also charged in connection to alleged crimes that occurred at the nightclub.

Carolyn Trader, Loretta Matlock and Amanda Nault were each charged with one count of public nudity.

Another dancer, Laura Campos, is charged with public nudity, prostitution and promoting obscenity.

The case against Trader was resolved last month when she agreed to accept diversion instead of formal charges. Diversion allows a defendant to avoid criminal prosecution by meeting requirements established by the prosecuting attorney's office, sometimes involving the defendant performing community service or undergoing a counseling program or promising to stay out of trouble for one year.

Matlock is contemplating a similar deal, prosecutors said.

The charges against Campos and Nault are still pending. Leavenworth County officials said bench warrants have been issued for both dancers because they have failed to appear in court.

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