Sheriff’s investigators watched sex acts, stripping

The grainy video is silent, in black and white and poorly framed, but it offers glimpses of female body parts gyrating in and out of view while the camera operator continually folds dollar bills and holds them aloft to attract nude dancers like bass to a lure.

The four-hour video, taken by a Butte County sheriff’s investigator using a concealed camera, is part of the evidence offered up in the case against the now-defunct First Amendment Club and Vanessa Andrews Studios escort service for alleged prostitution.

In a report resulting from a months-long investigation, Sheriff’s Investigator Jack Storne describes spending dozens of hours in the nudie bar and, in connection to the Andrews case, standing patiently outside the window of a Cohasset Road warehouse rented by the escort service, where on a number of nights, he alleges, he watched oral sex and intercourse performed on customers by the escorts.

The lascivious details of the investigation are spelled out in vivid detail in the report to District Attorney Mike Ramsey, who filed 10 charges of pimping on strip club manager Steve Clark (the DA maintains that because Clark facilitated “inappropriate contact” between dancer and customer, he’s guilty of pimping) and 60 counts of prostitution on a dozen of the club’s current and former dancers. That’s on top of the weapons and drugs charges he filed on Clark, his live-in girlfriend and roommate after three dozen police officers raided the club on a busy Saturday night last spring.

Now at issue are the dozens of incidents that sheriff’s investigators secretly videotaped while posing as customers at the club. The tapes, obtained by the News & Review, offer a few instances of direct contact between naked strippers and customers. Ramsey says that the contact was solicited by the dancers for money and equates to prostitution, which makes it illegal.

“These are incidents where the customers gave the performers money to have them put their breasts and genitals directly in their faces,” Ramsey said when the charges were filed. “That’s prostitution, and that’s illegal.”

The Andrews Studios investigation was tied to that of the strip club because Rachel Gonzalez, one of the strippers accused of prostitution, manages the escort service.

It’s all in the report: even surveillance of the women interrupting the sex acts to answer the phone and set up appointments. The sex is vividly described, and some passages read like bad erotica: “Gonzalez told the male to take his clothes off and get on the bed. Gonzalez then removed her clothing and approached the bed where she laid down on her back,” one such entry reads.

At one point, Storne reports, Gonzalez asked “to see my pecker.” He said he asked her why, and she answered, “Because cops won’t show you their dick, and I want to make sure you’re not a cop.” Storne writes at that at that point he told her he had to go to his car to retrieve his wallet.

Daylyn Presley, who is listed as the owner of Vanessa Andrews Studios, could not be reached for comment about the charges. Neither could Gonzalez, who was arrested for pimping and prostitution after agreeing to a sex act with an undercover officer at the Cohasset Road studio.

None of the other Vanessa Andrews employees identified in the investigation—or their clients—have been arrested. The escort service appears to be closed now, as its Web site has been taken down and phone number disconnected.

Clark, who plans to fight the pimping charges still pending against him, denies vehemently that his club had anything to do with Vanessa Andrews or prostitution. He’s still managing the club, which was bought out and is now called Centerfolds, and is looking forward to his day in court.

"Those tapes show that we were doing everything right," he said. "And they still came after us. It’s not right, and I’m going to fight this until there’s nothing left to fight anymore."