Union Twp. residents, cops react to conviction, closing of strip club

UNION TOWNSHIP, CLERMONT COUNTY, OH (FOX19) - The Union Township business, Déjà Vu, was convicted in the Clermont County Municipal Court of 10 counts of illegally operating a sexually oriented business.

"We were shocked," Anita Clark said. "We knew that they had been in trouble."

Anita Clark works at a hair salon right next door to Déjà Vu. "We have never, ever had any problems with any of their patrons over here," Clark said.

Clark's boyfriend who lives just 200 yards from the business agrees. "I've never had any problems whatsoever out of anybody at Déjà vu," Bryan Free said.

Union Township police see it differently, however.

"That's why they call them victimless crimes," Union Township Police Chief Terry Zinser. "Nobody wants to report that. It's very possible people are in their houses and they don't realize what's going on. But there was criminal offenses occurring in that location inside and out."

"They've been after Déjà Vu for years and they finally got their way," Free said.

Clark wishes it could have been handled differently. "They should have gotten in trouble for what's going on around there," Clark said. "But to close a business down is absolutely horrible."

Clark says while she doesn't agree with the business practices, she does not want to see it go.

"It makes me sick, it's disgusting what they do over there, but I mean, it's revenue coming in Mt. Carmel when this little town is dying," Clark said.

"I really don't see anything else coming in there," Free added. "No liquor license on this side of the street, I don't know what kind of establishment they're going to put in there."

Chief Zinser recognizes that concern. "We are committed to improving that area in Mt Carmel and drawing businesses back in," Zinser said.

He says they are not looking to add businesses at any cost, however. "Adult cabarets are no longer welcomed in Union Township," Zinser said.

Because of the conviction, Déjà Vu will be permanently closing its Union Township location on December 31, 2011.

Charges were filed against the business by the Union Township Police Department after an undercover investigation between April and June of 2010. During the investigation, detectives observed dancers engaged in sexual acts with each other, inappropriate touching of patrons and otherwise engaging in sexually oriented entertainment on the Déjà Vu premises.

Prosecutor Don White stated in a news release Thursday:

The closing of Déjà Vu in Union Township is a positive outcome of these cases for area residents and the community in general. The adverse secondary effects of adult sexually oriented businesses on a community are well documented. Union Township Detective Sergeant Scott Blankenship, together with the entire investigative unit, did an outstanding job conducting this undercover operation and aiding my assistant prosecutors in securing convictions.

Each count of the 10 charges Déjà Vu was convicted of carries a maximum fine of $5,000. Sentencing will happen on January 30, 2012.

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