SAN ANTONIO (CBS/AP) A young woman walked into a Texas strip club with 6-inch stiletto heels and a miniskirt, and was immediately hired as an exotic dancer. But the club manager who hired her says he had no idea she was only in the seventh grade.
The girl allegedly exposed her breasts while working at the Cheetah Club in Corpus Christi, a violation of state law. Police arrested club manager Jeffery Shawn Martinez, on charges of employment harmful to a minor and sexual performance of a child.
He was released on bail. Martinez's attorney, Fred Jimenez, said his client is not guilty. " The minor walked in there with a fake ID and presented herself to be 22 years old," Jimenez said. "She looks very mature."
Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission Sgt. John Mann scoffed at that characterization.
"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."
Mann told the San Antonio Express-News he expects his agency to take legal action against the club.
"It's against state law for a person under 18 years old to expose her breasts," he said. "The club may be culpable in allowing this young lady to get onstage and dance."
The sequence of events that led to the 14-year-old working at the club is in dispute. Authorities say the girl was kidnapped in San Antonio in March by Leslie Campbell, 48, who took her to Corpus Christi and sexually assaulted her over the course of a week. Campbell then allegedly gave her a false identification and forced her to strip at the club.
Authorities say the girl eventually escaped from Campbell and has been reunited with her parents in San Antonio. Campbell is in a Nueces County jail on charges of aggravated sexual assault and aggravated kidnapping. It was not immediately clear Saturday if he had an attorney.
But Alan Yaffe, the club's attorney, called the kidnapping story bogus.
"There was no real kidnapping," Yaffe told the San Antonio Express-News. "We're the victims here, sir. My clients are the victims."
As for the teenager's parents, they failed to "properly supervise" their daughter, Yaffe said. The club is suing Campbell, the girl and her parents for unspecified damages in a lawsuit filed last week. It also wants a judge to declare that the club didn't intend to hire a minor.
Yaffe said the club has also sued Corpus Christi Police Chief Mike Walsh because Walsh issues permits for sexually oriented businesses in the city. A police spokesman declined comment to the newspaper, saying only that the lawsuit speaks for itself.
More At The San Antonio Express-News