Share This Page

Blush dancers arrested in sting

| Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013, 12:03 a.m.

Detectives conducting a sting operation arrested two dancers on suspicion of prostitution at a Downtown strip club that sued the city to provide police protection and could receive $25,000 in the case.

The arrests were made hours after Pittsburgh City Council on Wednesday delayed voting on a proposed settlement with Blush, which sued the city because acting police Chief Regina McDonald in March banned off-duty officers from providing security there.

“We take these allegations very seriously,” Blush attorney Jonathan Kamin said. “We're conducting our own investigation. We do not condone it and will not tolerate it on the premises.”

Pittsburgh police charged Emily Miller, 21, of Monroeville and Jessica Thomas, 24, of New Brighton on Thursday with prostitution and conspiracy.

“We got a couple of anonymous complaints that some girls were working as prostitutes,” vice Sgt. Cristyn Zett said. “The timing was circumstantial.”

Undercover officers went to Blush shortly after midnight and told Thomas it was the birthday of one of the men, police said. Thomas and Miller agreed to engage in sex acts in the “champagne room” for $220 each to make it a “really, really happy birthday,” according to criminal complaints against the women.

Police arrested the women in the club's lobby and found $384 in cash on them, the complaint said. Kamin said the women were terminated that night.

Zett said there wasn't a detail officer at the club when the dancers were arrested. Officers usually are stationed outside the club.

One Three Five Inc., which does business as Blush, claimed the ban on police details violated its constitutional rights. A federal judge in June overturned the ban. The city settlement would pay the club $25,000 for legal fees.

Council delayed the vote to give city attorneys time to brief members on the settlement's details. Council likely will consider the legislation next week, council President DarleneHarris said.

Zett said the vice squad occasionally does “spot checks” of strip clubs but couldn't remember any previous arrests at Blush. Police statistics show there have been no prostitution arrests at the business in at least the past 10 years.

The women were arraigned and released on their own recognizance from Allegheny County Jail. They have preliminary hearings scheduled Sept. 18.

Margaret Harding is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8519 or mharding@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.