N.J. bar hired girl, 17, to strip, served her alcohol to "loosen her up," police say

Park Place Bar and Grill in National Park, N.J.
CBS Philly

(CBS) NATIONAL PARK, N.J. - A south New Jersey bar got its license suspended for 50 days after an investigation revealed the bar owner hired a 17-year-old to strip, and paid her with alcohol to "loosen her up" while on the job, the state's Attorney General said, according to CBS Philly.

Officials with the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control went to Park Place Bar and Grill in National Park in February 2011 and saw the 17-year-old being served alcohol by bartender Melissa Armstrong, CBS Philly reports.

While being questioned, Armstrong reportedly told investigators that her bosses, Donald Rossiter Sr., and his son Donald Rossiter Jr., of West Deptford, directed her to give the teenager as much alcohol as she wanted to "loosen her up" because she was hired to strip and socialize with patrons.

Armstrong reportedly told investigators that the teen had been drinking mixed drinks that night, including Long Island Iced Tea and Bay Breeze cocktails.

Rossiter Jr., is a part owner of the bar and employs his father in a management capacity, the station reports. Rossiter Sr., Jr., and Armstrong were all arrested and charged with serving alcohol to an underage person.

The teen was also charged with drinking alcohol underage and was released into her father's custody.

"This was an egregious abuse of the privilege to sell alcohol. The potential for illegal activity resulting from serving alcoholic beverages to a 17-year-old girl may have been averted only by the presence of ABC [Alcoholic Beverage Control] personnel," Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control Director Michael Halfacre told CBS Philly.

Halfacre said this case was particularly troubling because "the licensee used alcohol to exploit a minor for financial gain."

While at the bar, ABC detectives also arrested and charged two underage patrons for drinking inside the bar.

CBS Philly reports that Park Place Bar and Grill also admitted they had been purchasing alcohol from a nearby liquor store for sale at their establishment, which is also a violation of ABC law.