Eldridge, dancers charged
County officials allege prostitution, nudity
A former Leavenworth County commissioner faces three misdemeanor charges, alleging he is promoting prostitution at a private club he operates northeast of Basehor.
Wayne Eldridge, who left the commission in January, is charged with aiding and abetting public nudity, promoting prostitution and promoting obscenity.
Eldridge operates Whispers Cabaret on Kansas Highway 7.
Eldridge and four women, who county officials say dance at the club, were issued notices to appear in Leavenworth County District Court at 9 a.m. next Wednesday.
The charge of aiding public nudity is a Class C misdemeanor, while the prostitution and obscenity charges are Class A misdemeanors. According to Roger Marrs, deputy county attorney, the penalty for a Class A misdemeanor is up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine, and the penalty for a Class C misdemeanor is up to one month in jail and a $500 fine.
The public nudity charge alleges a violation of a resolution that the county commission passed last August. That measure, which bans nudity and certain sexual acts in public places, was approved unanimously at a time when Eldridge was chairman of the commission. He was defeated last November in a bid for re-election.
The charges against Eldridge and the four women stem from March 22, when plainclothes sheriff's officers from Brown County were sent into Whispers to investigate allegations of nudity. The deputies, according to County Attorney Frank Kohl, saw lap dances and nudity.
On Tuesday, Eldridge said he had not been served with notice of the charges, which were filed on Friday. He said the allegations were politically motivated.
"I think that they thought what I would do is shut the doors and leave," Eldridge said. "I haven't run from a battle yet."
Eldridge sees the case as a first-amendment issue, one he's vowed to take to federal court.
"As far as I'm concerned, I'll take it to the moon and back," he said. "It's just nonsense. There's more done at swimming pools in Leavenworth County than there is there."
Others who have been charged are:
Laura Anne Campos, Lenexa, public nudity, prostitution and promoting obscenity.
Carolyn Christine Trader, Easton, public nudity.
Amanda Brook Nault, Lenexa, public nudity.
Loretta A. Matlock, Lenexa, public nudity.