The Foxy Lady gentleman’s club in Providence has been ordered closed for three days after three of the club’s dancers were arrested Tuesday night for allegedly offering to perform sexual acts on three undercover police detectives, officials said.
Police began their investigation of the club three or four weeks ago, when a dancer reported that she had been sexually assaulted by a customer in one of the club’s private rooms. The customer was identified and arrested, but the assault was an indicator that there could have been more illegal activity happening in the club, according to Major David Lapatin, commanding officer of the city of Providence’s Investigative Division.
“It looked like there was an opportunity that something more than just dancing was going on because of the positions they were in,” Lapatin said. “They were in a private cubicle and she was dancing on his lap. We figured there’s a little more going on than just dancing.”
Lindsay Hoffman, 30, Melissa McNeely, 32, and Neish Rivera, 25, were charged with soliciting for prostitution around 10 p.m. They were released and are expected to appear in Providence District Court on Dec. 20, Lapatin said.
The police department sent three officers undercover as patrons to the club two separate times. The first time, the officers got an understanding of the layout and the operations of the club, and the second time, they went to see if they “would get propositions from the workers there,” Lapatin said.
The three officers were approached by three dancers, who offered to take them to private rooms downstairs for $300. The dancers then offered the undercover officers sexual favors in exchange for more money, Lapatin said.
Police waiting outside the club were notified of the solicitation, and the arrests were made later that night. The Providence Board of Licenses issued an emergency closure of 72 hours for the club Wednesday, Lapatin said.
Representatives from the Foxy Lady are expected to appear for a hearing at Providence City Hall Thursday at 1 p.m., Lapatin said. The club could face a license revocation, a fine, or closure for an extended period of time.
Multiple attempts to reach the club Thursday were unsuccessful.
Lapatin said police did not have any suspicions of illegal activity at the club until the sexual assault was reported last month. He said police had not received any similar complaints or tips about the club since he began working for the Investigative Division, but that there could be more dancers soliciting prostitution. He did not rule out the possibility for more undercover operations at the club.
“[The arrested dancers] are the only ones that detectives talked to,” he said. “I think it’s more than coincidence. I wouldn’t count out more operations.”
In 2015, a dancer working at the Foxy Lady filed a class action lawsuit against the club for allegedly violating fair labor standards, according to The Providence Journal. The club had allegedly failed to pay the dancer and several hundred others a base wage and charged them illegal fees.
Several other Providence businesses have been ordered to close in recent years for alleged sex trafficking or prostitution. In July 2015, the owner of the Cheaters club in Providence was convicted for sex trafficking a missing 14-year-old girl from Massachusetts after she solicited sex from an undercover detective, according to The Providence Journal. The club was shut down and then reopened under the name Wild Zebra Gentleman’s Club.
In January 2017, police charged a worker at the Smilers Day Spa with prostitution after finding that none of the women who worked there were licensed to give massages, according to The Providence Journal.
Police will be doing spot checks at the Foxy Lady to try to prevent additional solicitations, Lapatin said.Andres Picon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @andpicon.