BEAVERTON, Ore. (KOIN) — Two underage girls who said they were subjected to a life of shame and blackmail while working at a local strip club are suing for $8 million.
The girls were reportedly just 13 and 15 when they said they were raped, forced to sell their bodies for money and dance naked on stage at Stars Cabaret in Beaverton.
Two men accused of pimping the 13-year-old girl in 2012 are already in prison.
Now the girls’ lawyers want the strip club held accountable.
In their lawsuit, the girls claim the owners of Stars Cabaret let customers and managers inappropriately touch them for their financial benefit. They also claim the owners “promoted and profited from the live presentation of child pornography by compelling minors to engage in the display of sexually explicit conduct.”
The girls’ lawyers told KOIN 6 News they hope the suit sets a precedent.
“We think that this lawsuit is going to be very important,” attorney Joel Shapiro said. “You’re going to be held accountable if you exploit girls… If you’re having children in your strip club to make money, then you’re going to have to pay the price for that.”
Right now, Shapiro said these strip clubs aren’t being held accountable for offenses involving minors. In many cases, he said, it’s very hard for victims to come forward.
“We’re concerned about how many other victims are out there,” he said.
Shapiro and attorney Tony Reiner said it will take the girls, who are both still minors, years — if not a lifetime — to heal from the trauma they experienced.
According to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, Stars Cabaret has “accepted responsibility for 5 violations and has begun the process of selling the business.”
In addition, the strip club will “surrender its liquor license on the date the transfer of ownership is complete.” That sale was reportedly scheduled for early August.
The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries also filed a complaint against the business. A hearing on that case is scheduled to take place later this year.
Stars Cabaret provided KOIN 6 News with the following statement:
“Stars Cabaret & Steak House and its owners absolutely and unequivocally condemn unlawful sexual conduct, and abhor sexual abuse of any kind. Stars continues its commitment to the fight against sex trafficking and looks forward to defending itself against these allegations in a jury trial.”