Janesville66°

Halbach arrested on 13 charges

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Mike DuPre'
July 1, 2008
— Jim and Rebecca Halbach withdrew their application for a liquor license for Screamin’ MeeMees this morning, a day after Jim was arrested on 12 felony charges of keeping a place of prostitution and one misdemeanor charge of prostitution.

Screamin’ MeeMees, 402 W. Delavan Drive, is the city’s only strip club.


Rebecca’s attorney last month told the city liquor license advisory committee that the Halbachs would close the strip club if they received a liquor license. Alcohol cannot be served in strip clubs, according to city ordinances.


If given a liquor license, the Halbachs would open a tavern at the location under the name of Rev. Jim’s Roadhouse, they said.


But police in June told committee members that investigators were poised to make arrests, and they asked the committee to table the request for at least a month.


On Monday morning, Jim Halbach, 52, of 3337 S. Schuman Road, Orfordville, turned himself in to Janesville police.


“Mr. Halbach has been a contributing member of the community for a number of years, including but not limited to the Fourth of July celebration,” Jim Halbach’s attorney, Scott McCarthy, said Monday afternoon.


“He will continue to be a productive and contributing member of the community. We will be vigorously defending him on these charges,” McCarthy said.


Halbach was released with a court date of Monday, July 28.


The arrest was the most prominent and significant in the Janesville Police Department’s year-long investigation into allegations of prostitution and other offenses at Screamin’ MeeMees.


The Rock County Sheriff’s Office is conducting a separate but related investigation into possible prostitution at Diamond Jim's & The Isabella Queen, a tavern and strip bar at 6530 S. Highway 51 in Rock Township.


The Halbachs own both establishments.


While at least two sexual acts and several solicitations for oral sex have been charged in previous Screamin’ MeeMees cases, most of the alleged prostitution involves physical contact, but not intercourse, between dancers and patrons at the two clubs.


On Friday, Screamin’ MeeMees manager Randy Peterson, 49, of 3626 Falcon Ridge, Janesville, was arrested on five felony charges of keeping a place of prostitution.


He, too, has a July 28 court date.


Previously, 18 people had been arrested on misdemeanor prostitution charges. Three cases resulted in guilty pleas to prostitution; one in a guilty plea to disorderly conduct.


The other cases are pending.


In a press release, Janesville police said: “These arrests are part of an ongoing investigation … into citizen allegations of prostitution, alcohol use, illegal drug use, and illegal drug sales occurring at Screamin’ MeeMees …


“This investigation remains open, however, we are concluding our work. The investigation has revealed over 100 separate prostitution violations occurring between July 2007 and October 2007,” the press release reads.


Screamin’ MeeMees is a non-alcoholic adult entertainment establishment open to people 18 and older.


In addition to violations of state statutes, Janesville police said they will pursue local ordinance violations at Screamin’ MeeMees and will seek the revocation of the adult entertainment license issued to Rebecca Halbach.


The Halbachs opened Screamin’ MeeMees after the city denied them a liquor license for the former grocery store they bought in 2000.


Reporter Marcia Nelesen contributed to this story

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