Police arrest Screamin' MeeMees manager
Peterson, 49, was arrested at his home, 3626 Falcon Ridge, Janesville, without incident, Janesville Police Chief Neil Mahan said.
The arrest is about the 18th since the strip club at 402 W. Delavan Drive came under investigation last summer, he said.
Police will seek the revocation of the strip club’s adult entertainment license, Mahan said.
“I think the impact is not just these arrests, but it’s all the arrests and in particular the three convictions for acts of prostitution … related to the investigation on this business,” Mahan said. “I’ll be filing a charge with the city clerk’s office to seek the revocation of the adult entertainment license.”
The city council will make the decision whether to revoke the license, Mahan said. The issue could be handled with a hearing, or the license could be surrendered, he said.
Three people who have pleaded guilty to prostitution as a result of the investigation, Mahan said, are: Chelsea A. Lilly, 21, of Janesville; Ryan Arneson, 32, of Janesville and Martin Z. Guerrero, 20, of Burlington.
Ashley Lewis, 20, of Milwaukee pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct.
Police plan to arrest club owner Jim Halbach and have been in contact with his attorney, Scott McCarthy, to facilitate Halbach’s surrender, Mahan said.
The Gazette could not reach McCarthy for comment.
Police have probable cause to arrest Halbach on charges of soliciting prostitution, a misdemeanor, and multiple counts of keeping a house of prostitution.
Mahan said he thinks Halbach will surrender.
Mahan does not expect to arrest Halbach’s wife and Screamin’ MeeMees co-owner, Rebecca Halbach, but said she could face charges at the municipal level.
“We are not going to arrest Rebecca for criminal charges unless new evidence presents itself,” Mahan said. “There are many municipal code violations.”
Screamin’ MeeMees’ adult entertainment license is in Rebecca Halbach’s name. She also applied for a liquor license for the business.
If the license were granted, the Screamin’ MeeMees would no longer be a strip club.
Earlier this month, Janesville police asked the city’s alcohol licensing committee to postpone a decision whether or not to grant the liquor license. The committee postponed the decision until July 1.
The Halbachs also own Diamond Jim’s & The Isabella Queen, a tavern and strip bar at 6530 S. Highway 51 in Rock Township.
Rock County Sheriff Bob Spoden said Peterson’s arrest would only affect operation of Diamond Jim’s & The Isabella Queen if the business’ management chose to make a change.
The sheriff’s office is conducting a separate investigation into that club, Spoden said.
The investigation is “nearing completion,” he said.
When detectives are done reviewing material taken from Diamond Jim’s & The Isabella Queen, Spoden’s office will decide whether to make an arrest or turn the findings over to the district attorney’s office, Spoden said.
“We don’t have anything solid right now,” Spoden said.