Lapdances, Constitutionally Protected Free Speech!

Judge’s ruling protects lap dancing as free speech

Dancer was cited in April 2005 after ‘prohibited touching’ of undercover officer

June 30, 2007

Lap dances are legal in Salem, protected by the Oregon Constitution’s free speech provisions, a Marion County judge ruled this week.

A city ordinance outlawing “prohibited touching” — sexually exciting physical contact for pay — has been ruled unconstitutional by Circuit Judge Albin Norblad.

The case involves Laurel Guillen, 24, a dancer at a northeast Salem club called Cheetah’s who gave a lap dance to an undercover officer in April 2005.

Salem residents hoping to limit strip club activity in the city called the ruling a setback.

“You see what they’ve done, they’ve taken free speech and they’ve stretched it to cover everything,” said South Salem resident Julia Allison, a member of Oregonians Protecting Neighborhoods. The group hopes to put a ballot measure before voters amending the state constitution to strengthen government regulation of strip clubs.

Two Salem strip clubs shrugged the ruling off Friday, saying it wouldn’t affect their business because they don’t allow lap dancing.

“We have table dances, where our entertainers stay 6 to 12 inches away at all times,” said Claude DeCorsi, manager of Star’s Cabaret. “Any victory for the adult industry, way to go, but it doesn’t really apply to us.”

Frank Boussad, owner of Presley’s Playhouse Cabaret, said his club also limits activity to table dances. “We don’t allow lap dancing,” he said. “We just try to run a real clean establishment.”

Cheetah’s is a “juice bar” club located on Silverton Road NE, which does not serve alcohol and is open to people 18 and older.

Court records say the officer paid Guillen for touching “her pelvis to his pelvis area and thigh for the purpose of arousing sexual excitement.”

Guillen was found guilty of prohibited touching in Salem Municipal Court in November 2006, fined $250 and sentenced to a year’s probation. She appealed her conviction to the circuit court.

In his ruling, which lawyers received in the mail this week, Norblad cited an Oregon Supreme Court case in which the high court found it legal under the state’s free speech protections for a stripper to rub her breasts against a man’s chest and perform a live sex show with another woman.

Norblad threw out the charge and found Guillen not guilty.

Guillen’s attorney, Kevin Lafky, said the city’s ordinance was written too broadly.

“Laws can applied arbitrarily,” Lafky said. “A whole host of very normal conduct, such as theater performance, movie making, photography — things of that nature — would be illegal under this ordinance as well.”

The ruling also applies, Lafky said, to a second dancer Salem police cited for prohibited touching during the same sting operation at Cheetah’s, Portland resident Stephenie Lawrow, 22.

Guillen, who lives in Gresham, did not respond to phone messages left Friday. No one at Cheetah’s was available for comment.

Salem City Attorney Randall Tosh said he was not prepared to comment Friday.

“We’re going to be doing a review of the ordinance in light of the case, and make some sort of determination to see if we can appeal it,” he said. “We’re considering our options.”

Allison said she hopes some action will be taken.

“I’m a moralist, I guess,”she said. “It’s disgusting. It’s another form of prostitution to me. You can’t tell me that they sit on their laps and that’s it.”

Love Letters

At nights we often run in to each other, we greet each other warmly and chat as friends. We often share letters of love and hope.  Tonight I want to share a letter with you, a poem dedicated to you as you are first of all, as women.

What do you call her, prostitute or woman?

They call them prostitutes,

 – those that prostitute them.

They call them streetwalkers,

– those who throw them out of their homes.

They call them women of pleasure,

– those who take pleasure in trampling them.

They call them loose women,

– those who grope them.

They call them women of life,

– those who are dead and have no love life.

They call them sinners,

– the clean pharisees, hypocrites.

[God] calls them women,

– he loves them who take him in.

– who does not condemn them, who pardons them.

[God] calls them women

– he who comes to them with caring,

and invites them to change their life,

to reconstruct themselves,

love themselves with self-esteem

and live fully as a woman.

And you?  What do you call her,

Prostitute or woman?


Trans from the original spanish.

Fr Arnaldo Zenteno, SJ: Mexican Jesuit priest, serving mostly in Nicaragua, sex worker/human rights champion and member of the Latin-American Liberation Theology movement.

Currently watching :
Verdades Ocultas
Release date: By 31 October, 2006

Dance Naked

An interesting book by a professional exotic dancer,written for the civilian woman interesting in freeing the stripper-within and helping to develop a positive body image. Healthy choices are encouraged via cogent examinations of topics like overeating, aging, exercise, and especially emotional eating; personal stories illuminate these discussions.

Readers will appreciate the author’s respectful tone, as when she advises women to judge themselves realistically and not against a supermodel ideal. Comparing oneself with cultural ideals challenges self-worth, even leading to “body hatred.”

Not a how-to guide for those wishing to be professional dancers, but rather a lay guide, though the LOC subject heading does read Striptease – Vocational Guidance. [also interesting the LAPL (using dumb dewey) has the stripper section in 793.15…tbc]

Very interesting for what it is. Not as backstage as Strip City by Lily Burana.

Currently reading: Dance Naked : A Guide to Unleashing Your Inner Hottie