Strip club’s stewardship disappoints family watchgroup

When Cowboy’s applied for a liquor license, “[o]pponents, including WyWatch Family Action members, crowded commission meetings for the initial approval in September 2008 and for the renewal in February 2009, saying the establishment[] would cause an increase in sex crimes, exploitation of women, prostitution, and the promotion of obscenity,” reports Tom Martin here for the Star-Tribune.

Both licenses issued despite WyWatch’s protested fears.

Now it’s time for the County to entertain year 2010 liquor license renewal applications, and it seems likely that WyWatch’s fears must once again give way to the law. According a letter the Natrona County Sheriff wrote to the Natrona County Commission (i.e., the body that decides liquor license renewal applications), Cowboys has not been responsible for an increase in crime or gender exploitation over the past year. Au contraire:

The sheriff’s office received 29 calls from the club from Feb. 1, 2009 to Feb. 1, 2010, he wrote.

Twenty-two of those fell in the categories of general information or citizen assistance requests, including activated security alarms, loud music, a medical call, a traffic accident and other minor issues, Benton wrote.

“The remaining seven calls were to report three assaults, one larceny, two property damages and one threatening,” he wrote. “If you subtract the 22 calls for service … the remaining seven calls could be in line with any other facility with an equal amount of business, for a one year period.”

The sheriff’s office has issued no citations to Cowboys staff for violations of liquor license requirements, Benton wrote.

The article also reports that, “[i]f there have been any direct effects of the strip club on domestic violence, Self-Help Center Director Liz Baron said she hasn’t seen any.”

I, for one, support WyWatch’s right to protest. To be heard. But if the evidence of crime ain’t there, WyWatch’s vigil must remain just that: a vigil. While prophets can warn of the future, adjudicators must dwell in the past and present, lest we need due process and equal protection in the unpredicted future.

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