The Harem shut down, 11 indicted on sex, drug, food stamp charges

Published: Friday, September 29, 2017 @ 10:08 AM
Updated: Friday, September 29, 2017 @ 7:18 PM

Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck spoke on Friday and detailed the charges and arrests of 11 people during a strip club raid in Harrison Twp.

Calling The Harem strip club a “sex and drug den,” Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. announced Friday the business has been shut down after his office filed a motion for preliminary injunction. His office will seek to permanently close The Harem at 5825 North Dixie Dr.

Heck announced the indictments of 11 people — five of whom were arrested Thursday night during a raid of The Harem, The Living Room and Sharkey’s — during a Friday press conference about a 9-month investigation initiated by the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

“Undercover agents witnessed a number of liquor violations including dancers in full nudity,” Heck said. “They witnessed illegal drug transactions.”

RELATED: 3 Harrison Twp. strip clubs raided in drug, prostitution, fraud investigation

Those indicted are: Samantha Clay, 29, Dayton, on 33 counts; Samantha Childers, 30, Dayton, on 15 counts; Kayla Olivia Hatton, 22 , Dayton, on nine counts; Anna Barnes, 26, Middletown, on four counts; Sarah Barnes, 27, Piqua, on two counts; Melvin Bibbs, 58, Dayton, on four counts; Vanessa Graham (aka Schrider), 29, Englewood, on three counts; Ryan Perry, 32, Tipp City, on one count; Ciera Chastain, 24, Dayton, on four counts; Jennifer Rowland, 22, Springfield, on two counts; and Aaron Crenshaw, 30, Dayton, on seven counts.

Heck said five defendants were arrested Thursday and are in the Montgomery County Jail and that three more were arrested on unrelated charges.

Of the indicted 84 charges, the trafficking counts included cocaine, methamphetamine, carfentanil, fentanyl, marijuana and Oxycodone.

Several counts involved illegal sexual activity in a sexually oriented business, illegal uses of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) or WIC benefits and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.

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“The undercover agents conducted controlled drug buys at The Harem from a number of the defendants and observed the trading of food stamps and the cards used to obtain food stamps in exchange for sex acts, for lap dances and even illegal drugs,” Heck said. “The undercover agents were propositioned for sex and observed other propositions and proposition transactions. In short, The Harem was being used basically as a sex and drug den.”

Some defendants will be arraigned Oct. 3 and others on Oct. 12. Efforts to reach The Harem’s owners or management were unsuccessful.

Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Mary Katherine Huffman signed an ex parte temporary restraining order to close The Harem.

Heck said a hearing will happen in the next 10 days when his office will ask a judge to shut down the business. The hearing has not been scheduled.

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“Our goal is simply to have the court declare that The Harem is a public nuisance and its continued operation endangers the safety of the neighborhood and the citizens,” Heck said.

The OSHP said The Harem, Sharkey’s and The Living Room all were charged in an administrative case with the Ohio Liquor Control Commission for numerous violations.

Heck said the business alerted people when sheriff’s deputies — operating out of a nearby substation — entered so illegal activity could be hidden.

“It took undercover agents going inside and acting as patrons in order to uncover the scope of the criminal activity involved,” Heck said, saying Harrison Twp. residents deserve to “not have drug dealers and/or prostitutes roaming the streets or conducting illegal activity right at their front door.”

Bullets aimed at officers' chests stopped by vests, officials say

Published: Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 3:24 PM
Updated: Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 4:13 PM

St. Louis Police Officers Saved By Bulletproof Vests

A man opened fire on two police officers who were 15 feet away from him on Thursday morning, striking them with bullets that would have hit their chests if not for their bulletproof vests, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

The vests might have saved the officers’ lives, KTVI reported. The pair was conscious and speaking Thursday after the shooting in Bellefontaine Neighbors, according to the news station. They were released from a hospital on Thursday afternoon after getting treatment for their injuries, St. Louis County police said.

Bellefontaine Neighbors Mayor Bob Doerr told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the injured officers were a 44-year-old male sergeant who has worked in law enforcement for “half his life” and a 25-year-old female police officer who was hired in 2014.

"They were wearing their bulletproof vests, so thank God," Doerr old the Post-Dispatch

The officers were injured around 7:30 a.m. after being called Thursday morning to a home in north St. Louis County where a man was suspected of having fired multiple shots on Wednesday night, KTVI reported. Police left the home Wednesday after finding no evidence to continue an investigation, St. Louis County police Sgt. Shawn McGuire told KMOV.

He told the news station that a neighbor called authorities Thursday morning after spotting the man who was suspected of firing the shots. Officers said they found the person walking in the area and tried to talk to him, but St. Louis County police said they were unsuccessful.

“Officers tried to take the suspect into custody, at which time the suspect resisted arrest,” police said. “One of the officers attempted to use a Taser to control the suspect, but was unsuccessful.”

Authorities said the man then pulled out a gun and fired shots at the officers’ chests.

One of the officers returned fire, but it was not immediately clear if the man was hit. He ran into a home, where he barricaded himself for hours before police officers were able to take him into custody Thursday afternoon.

Witness Steve Jones told KMOV he spotted police officers Thursday morning in the front yard of a home on Bellefontaine Road.

“All of a sudden, I (see) ... Bellefontaine officers trying to take this man to the ground, and the next thing I know, this man jumps up off the ground and I see pepper spray being deployed from the officers,” Jones told KMOV. “This man backs up about 15 feet and starts shooting.”

He said he heard several gunshots and saw the officers fall to the ground. He told KMOV he called 911.

Police did not immediately identify the man accused of firing shots at police or either of the injured officers.

Bullets aimed at officers' chests stopped by vests

Published: Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 6:35 PM
Updated: Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 4:13 PM

Police officers work the scene where two St. Louis County officers were shot and a man barricaded himself inside a home on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, in the St. Louis County town of Bellefontaine Neighbors, Mo. Officers are trying to negotiate his surrender. (Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)
Robert Cohen/AP
Police officers work the scene where two St. Louis County officers were shot and a man barricaded himself inside a home on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, in the St. Louis County town of Bellefontaine Neighbors, Mo. Officers are trying to negotiate his surrender. (Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)(Robert Cohen/AP)

A man opened fire on two police officers who were 15 feet away from him on Thursday morning, striking them with bullets that would have hit their chests if not for their bulletproof vests, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

The vests might have saved the officers’ lives, KTVI reported. The pair was conscious and speaking Thursday after the shooting in Bellefontaine Neighbors, according to the news station. They were released from a hospital on Thursday afternoon after getting treatment for their injuries, St. Louis County police said.

Bellefontaine Neighbors Mayor Bob Doerr told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the injured officers were a 44-year-old male sergeant who has worked in law enforcement for “half his life” and a 25-year-old female police officer who was hired in 2014.

"They were wearing their bulletproof vests, so thank God," Doerr old the Post-Dispatch

The officers were injured around 7:30 a.m. after being called Thursday morning to a home in north St. Louis County where a man was suspected of having fired multiple shots on Wednesday night, KTVI reported. Police left the home Wednesday after finding no evidence to continue an investigation, St. Louis County police Sgt. Shawn McGuire told KMOV.

He told the news station that a neighbor called authorities Thursday morning after spotting the man who was suspected of firing the shots. Officers said they found the person walking in the area and tried to talk to him, but St. Louis County police said they were unsuccessful.

“Officers tried to take the suspect into custody, at which time the suspect resisted arrest,” police said. “One of the officers attempted to use a Taser to control the suspect, but was unsuccessful.”

Authorities said the man then pulled out a gun and fired shots at the officers’ chests.

One of the officers returned fire, but it was not immediately clear if the man was hit. He ran into a home, where he barricaded himself for hours before police officers were able to take him into custody Thursday afternoon.

Witness Steve Jones told KMOV he spotted police officers Thursday morning in the front yard of a home on Bellefontaine Road.

“All of a sudden, I (see) ... Bellefontaine officers trying to take this man to the ground, and the next thing I know, this man jumps up off the ground and I see pepper spray being deployed from the officers,” Jones told KMOV. “This man backs up about 15 feet and starts shooting.”

He said he heard several gunshots and saw the officers fall to the ground. He told KMOV he called 911.

Police did not immediately identify the man accused of firing shots at police or either of the injured officers.

News photographer shot by Clark County deputy sues

Published: Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 5:28 PM

Body camera released of Ohio news photographer shot by deputy

The news photographer shot by a Clark County deputy in New Carlisle in September has filed a federal lawsuit against the deputy, Clark County and the city of New Carlisle.

Andy Grimm filed the lawsuit Thursday seeking damages and the suit calls the shooting “excessive use of force and violation of Mr. Grimm’s constitutional and common law rights.”

RELATED: Clark County deputy back to work after shooting news photographer

The lawsuit doesn’t state a specific amount of money Grimm is seeking to cover attorney fees, injuries, damages, losses and to adequately punish and deter the conduct alleged but says it will be more than $75,000.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations is handling the investigation into the deputy-involved shooting. The bureau didn’t return a phone call seeking the status of that investigation on Thursday. The sheriff’s office will do an internal investigation into Shaw’s actions after the state’s investigation is completed.

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Grimm says in the suit he wasn’t a threat to anyone the night he was shot by Clark County Deputy Jacob Shaw. Body camera footage obtained by the Springfield News-Sun appears to show Shaw was conducting a traffic stop when he fired at Grimm.

The lawsuit also alleges Grimm’s wife, Melanie Grimm and KBA News LLC, which publishes the New Carlisle News, have suffered due to the shooting.

“Plantiff KBA News, LLC asserts loss of business profits as local law enforcement agencies have retaliated against the business in response to the events of Sept. 4,” the lawsuit says.

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Clark County Sheriff Office Chief Deputy Travis Russell declined to comment on behalf of the sheriff’s office Thursday. New Carlisle City Manager Randy Bridge also declined comment.

Clark County Prosecutor Andy Wilson didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment Thursday.

Shaw returned back to work in the jail in October.

Miami County man accused of child rape awaits jury’s verdict

Published: Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 1:05 PM
Updated: Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 6:10 PM

Charles Hiser, right, seated at the defense table in Miami County Common Pleas Court earlier this year. STEVE BAKER/STAFF
Charles Hiser, right, seated at the defense table in Miami County Common Pleas Court earlier this year. STEVE BAKER/STAFF

Jurors

A Miami County jury deliberated 4½ hours Thursday in the child rape trial of Charles Hiser of Troy before agreeing to return Friday to continue deliberations.

Hiser, 37, faces eight felony rape charges for alleged sexual contact and sexual conduct with a child younger than 10 and then younger than 13 between February 2012 and late 2016 in Piqua and Troy. He is being held on $550,000 bail.

A trial in October ended in a mistrial after some jurors said they had seen or heard about media accounts of the case.

Jurors, in a written question sent to Judge Christopher Gee after around 3½ hours of deliberations, asked what would happen if they were unable to agree. They were told there was no specific time line for deliberations and the focus should be on trying to reach a verdict, if possible.

EARLIER: Mistrial declared in case against man accused of child rape

The accuser, now 14, testified Wednesday.

One defense witness, Hiser’s wife, testified this morning. Stacy Hiser testified she did not observe anything inappropriate or suspicious about her husband.

In closing statements, Janna Parker, assistant county prosecutor, said the girl may have said she assumed why the sexual acts began and could not provide specific dates and times for alleged acts, but that is not unusual for sexual assault victims.

“There were no assumptions as to what happened between her and the defendant. She was very clear it happened too many times to count,” Parker said.

EARLIER: Victim says sex abuse happened more times than she could count

Public defender Steve Layman said there was not an objective fact finding process followed in the investigation by police, who he argued displayed a lack of effort.

“Charles was assumed guilty from the moment of disclosure. Why didn’t they dig deeper?” Layman said.

He questioned why corroborating evidence was not sought about allegations that he said could have been fabricated.

Parker said the girl’s account, if believed by the jury, told the story. “She is worth listening to,” she said.

Three alternate jurors had been seated in the event a problem arose with one or more of the 12 jurors who will decide the case. The alternate jurors were dismissed before deliberations began.