Too early to talk license: Chief

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Mike DuPre'
Sunday, April 6, 2008
— Despite more than 15 arrests on prostitution charges resulting from an investigation into activity at Janesville’s only strip club, it would be premature to discuss pulling Screamin’ MeeMees’ adult entertainment license, Police Chief Neil Mahan said.

An integral part of making a case to revoke the license of the non-alcoholic club at 402 W. Delavan Drive would be prostitution convictions, not simply charges, Mahan said.

His department’s priority is the ongoing criminal investigation, not shutting the business down, the chief said.

“If we have convictions of prostitution or the case is resolved in some way, then it would be time to review the license issue,” Mahan said, adding:

“I don’t want to do anything on the license side to jeopardize the criminal case, and the criminal case is still pending.”

Screamin’ MeeMees’ adult entertainment license is issued to Rebecca Halbach, wife of Jim Halbach.

The Halbachs also own and operate Diamond Jim’s & The Isabella Queen, a tavern and strip bar serving alcohol and food at 6530 S. Highway 51 in Rock Township.

Janesville’s license ordinance prohibits not only sexual acts but also physical contact between patrons and performers. Most of the prostitution charges allege payment for sexual contact—rubbing breasts, buttocks or genitalia against another person.

Violations of the Janesville ordinance can result in a hearing before the city council to suspend, revoke or not renew the license, provisions mirrored in the ordinance for alcohol licenses.

Anybody may file charges of violations, but the chief of police specifically is mentioned in the license ordinance.

A former Janesville police chief, George Brunner, is council president.

Asked about reviewing Screamin’ MeeMees’ adult entertainment license, Brunner replied:

“It’s really difficult for me to comment because all we’ve seen is what’s been in the media. All that we’ve been told is that the investigation is ongoing, so we really have nothing to review at this point. …

“Based on the outcome of the investigation, it would be appropriate to review the status of the entertainment license,” Brunner added

Russ Steeber, a lieutenant at the Rock County Sheriff’s Department, also sits on the Janesville City Council.

Asked about the adult entertainment license, Steeber said:

“I don’t have enough information as to what actually happened. I haven’t seen any police reports on it. The principle of innocent until proven guilty still applies even though this is a license issue.

“I would have to consult with the city attorney to see if we have any recourse of review prior to charges being disposed of in court,” Steeber said, adding:

“While the arrests are probably well founded, I don’t have enough information to make a decision either way right now.”

Last updated: 9:00 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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