More than a few years ago, I was working as a burlesque entertainer in a gentleman’s club, and was idly sitting at the end of the bar one night when a couple came in…not unusual. I had no contact with them, and thought nothing of their being there—until later.

A few days after that night, the doorman handed me a piece of paper that had two names and phone numbers written on it, “Laura” and “Richard”. I was supposed to call one of them, so I called Laura, who told me they had been the couple who’d been at the bar the other night, and they’d noticed me and thought I’d be perfect for a part in a movie Richard was producing. Would I be up for a meeting? Of course I would, who wouldn’t? I was told Richard would pick me up the next night at 7, and to “wear something wild”.

7 o’clock came the next evening, and I was ready in a white lace dress with ostrich feather trim when Richard showed up outside my building, so I went down, introduced myself, and got in the car. We agreed to go to a local bar I knew well for the meeting, but first we had to go back to his place so he could pick up some contracts he’d forgotten, so off we went. He went in the house and came back out with a few manila envelopes and an open bottle of beer, a brand that I didn’t drink (plus, it’s against the law to drink alcohol in a vehicle here), so I stuck the beer into the window well of his jeep and we went to the bar.

At the bar, he showed me what were supposedly scripts from this movie he was producing, and some contracts, and it looked pretty legit, Richard was very nice, and I was interested. I’d made some plans to go out later with my soon-to-be boyfriend, so I excused myself to go call him on the bar’s payphone, and took my Corona that I’d ordered at the bar with me to the bank of phones. As a dancer, I’d been taught by the other older girls to NEVER let your drink out of your sight. My boyfriend wanted to get going to another club, so I went back to the table where Richard was, and told him I had to go.

He didn’t like that, and tried a few different things to get me to”go to the movie set” with him, saying I could meet Mickey Rourke and check out the set, but all I really wanted to do was meet my boyfriend, so I declined, took Richard’s card, and left.

I never heard from Richard again, but a couple of months later, the police came around to the bar I was working at—they had 2 big books of mugshots and a stack of Polaroids with them, and they wanted to talk to all of us about a predator couple who had been setting up meetings with dancers by saying they were in the film industry, then drugging and raping them. They showed me the 2 mugshot books, and asked if I saw anyone I recognized in the pictures, and I immediately identified Richard and Laura. Then they showed me the Polaroids, which were “trophy” pictures of the couple in the act of attacking the poor drugged girls, and asked if I knew any of the victims and where they might find them, in order to talk to the girls. I only knew a couple of the women in the photographs, but there were a LOT that this had happened to.

Richard and Laura were prosecuted. He went to jail, but she didn’t, because she was from a wealthy family and she also turned witness on him. About 12 years after Richard was convicted, I saw in the newspaper that he was up for possiblity of parole, so I wrote a letter to the parole board telling this story and urging them to NOT let him back out, because he’s a dangerous offender who should have to stay in prison for the entirety of his sentence.

If I had drank that opened beer he had handed me in his jeep on the way to that meeting, I wouldn’t have made it to the meeting, and would probably have ended up in that stack of Polaroids. Girls AND guys, ALWAYS, ALWAYS keep your eye on your drinks! Have fun but be careful out there.

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