Undercover detectives testify they were offered sex at Wild Zebra strip club

Providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Two undercover police detectives testified Wednesday that dancers at the Wild Zebra offered them sex acts in exchange for money in the back room of the strip club.

The detectives testified before the Providence Board of Licenses during a hearing about whether the strip club should lose its license or be otherwise disciplined by the city.

The first undercover detective, from the Central Falls police department, testified that he went to Wild Zebra in May and was offered a lap dance by a woman who went by the name of “Jewels.”

The officer said Jewels told him a lap dance was $20 per song, but $120 would get him a trip to the back room.

When he inquired what the back room entailed, the officer said Jewels responded that “you can have sex with me,” and grabbed his genitals.

The detective said he declined to have sex, but agreed to receive a nude dance in the back room. While back there, the detective said he heard people having apparent sex in another cubicle, and also saw condoms in a trash can.

The officer also said he asked the dancer to get him cocaine. He said he gave her $60 and she left and came back back with a white powdery substance folded in a dollar bill.

According to a Providence Police report, dancer Jada Depina was arrested and charged with prostitution, a misdemeanor, and felony drug possession with intent to deliver.

The second detective, from the Providence police department, similarly testified that he was offered oral sex by a different dancer, for the same price.

No decision on Wild Zebra’s license was made Wednesday, as the hearing is set to continue later this month. The club is still open on the condition that the VIP room is closed.

“There was no sexual activity in the back room,” said Peter Petrarca, attorney for Wild Zebra, after the hearing. “They can do simulated sex acts, that’s what was going on.”

Petrarca said more evidence, including an explanation for the condoms in the trash, would be provided at the next hearing. He added that the dancer is an independent contractor who signed an agreement to follow state laws.

He also said it was “patently unfair” that police did not tell the club about the investigation until December, which means they were not able to preserve any surveillance video from the May incidents that might help the defense.

The next hearing is also expected to tackle a separate accusation by another dancer, who claims she was assaulted by a “pimp” at the strip club in April, according to a police report. She went to the hospital, where police said she had facial injuries and a “very large lump” on her forehead.

Steph Machado (smachado@wpri.com) covers Providence, politics and more for WPRI 12. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Providence

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