American law enforcement is befuddled by the fact that schoolgirl strippers as young as 12 can legally bare all in the strip clubs of a number of states.
A case in point is the state of Rhode Island, where police were to find that although state law bans minors from a variety of dangerous work, as long as they do not work past 11:30PM they can freely put on erotic performances for the benefit of paying patrons.
Police investigated the case of a 16-year-old runaway who had been making ends meet at a local strip club, and who told them of other young girls working at similar establishments, but could find no law forbidding the practice.
Under eighteens may not purchase pornography or be photographed in a risqué manner, but stripping is quite acceptable and the owners face no charges.
One official puts it thus: “I’ve been doing this a long time and I can’t find anything that says it’s illegal for a 16-year-old or a 17-year-old to take her top off and dance.”
State law prohibits employing any person under eighteen in prostitution “any other lewd or indecent act,” with sentences of up to 20 years possible.
However, a lawyer involved in the attempted prosecution of such an establishment explained that as “lewd or indecent” is a subjective term defined by community standards, stripping cannot be considered lewd as strip clubs are allowed (were they considered lewd they would not be allowed operate).
Police are concerned that as the age of consent in Rhode Island is 16, girls could even go further and offer intimate services, all within the law, which currently allows “indoor” prostitution. State labour law currently forbids minors from working up ladders, serving alcohol, pumping gas, but has nothing to say about sexual services.
Neighbouring Massachusetts does however prohibit minors from giving sexual performances, as do many other states, though laws are far from uniform.
An Iowa judge upheld a striptease by a 17-year-old as constitutionally protected artistic expression, whilst a 12-year-old girl found dancing nude in a Dallas strip club caused the city government to hurriedly pass laws against loli stripping.
Rhode Island police insist taking off one’s clothes is a grave matter: “It leads to a societal breakdown, these are just little girls.”
Via the Providence Journal.
Curious that something like this doesn’t attract outraged campaigners…