Dancer crackdown sought

<b>CORRECTION:</b> This story on lap dancing rules in Wednesday’s Las Vegas Review-Journal omitted former Clark County Commissioner Dario Herrera from a list of former commissioners convicted in a bribery case related to one-time strip club owner Michael Galardi.

Lap dancers would be cited for lewd conduct for improperly touching customers under a new code proposed by Las Vegas police.

In the dances, patrons sit while topless, nude or scantily clad women tease them with suggestive movements and light caressing during a song.

An odd loophole prevents an undercover officer from citing a dancer who crosses the line by straddling a customer or groping genitals, police told Clark County commissioners Tuesday.

Under current rules, police can go only after strip club owners if the dancers misbehave, but it's often difficult to prove that the owners knew about the dancers' misconduct, Sgt. Glen Lowe said.

"A dancer should be held liable for what she is doing," Lowe said.

The clubs' owners usually are not on the premises, making it easy for them to deny knowing that their dancers broke the rules, Lowe said.

The proposal will come back to the commission to sign off at a date yet to be determined.

A concern is that dancers often rub and grind on patrons to arouse them before soliciting prostitution, said Lt. Karen Hughes, who works in the Metropolitan Police Department's vice unit.

Holding dancers responsible will deter illicit acts and put the county in line with Las Vegas' rules, Hughes said.

"We have very useful language in the city code that should mirror the county's codes."

If adopted, the code would not impose new restrictions on what dancers can do but would go further in making them stay within current limits.

That is different from the stricter lap-dancing rules that former Commissioner Yvonne Atkinson Gates pushed for in 2002, stirring a brouhaha.

The commission that year passed a watered-down version that formally legalized lap dancing.

Later, an investigation revealed that strip club owner Michael Galardi bribed three commissioners to derail any rules that would seriously curtail erotic dancing. Former commissioners Lance Malone, Mary Kincaid-Chauncey and Erin Kenny were convicted in the case.

Hughes said Las Vegas police also are pursuing tougher rules for prostitutes who roam hotel corridors.

The prostitutes slip past security guards by accompanying men to their rooms, then solicit more customers in the hallways, Hughes said.

Existing rules do not allow police to monitor the private areas of casinos, and that is something police want changed, Hughes said.

Contact reporter Scott Wyland at or 702-455-4519.