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Drug use, sex common in strip clubs, former dancer says


CLEVELAND - A former stripper testified Monday she had seen freewheeling drug use and sexual activity when she performed at clubs in seven states.

Julie Shematz testified in support of a new state law that bans contact between exotic dancers and their customers. Her testimony came during the second day of a hearing in which Ohio`s adult entertainment industry is asking a federal judge to block enforcement of the new law.

Shematz, 42, said she performed in 14 clubs over a seven-year period in Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Rhode Island and South Carolina while financing her college education.

The dancers frequently used drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, crystal meth and even a date-rape drug to "work up what we call ‘the game` - get the game on," she said, referring to their performance.

She testified that sexual contact between dancers and their customers was common, along with evidence of prostitution.

"Prostitution was normal," she said. "There wasn`t a night that I worked that I wasn`t propositioned."

Asked to elaborate, she responded, "It`s an environment where you are sexually stimulating males."

Shematz said clubs have gotten tougher since she left the business in 2002. While the clubs where she worked had some rules, she testified, "It`s no longer the art of physical entertainment. It`s all contact."

When the attorney challenging the law said Shematz wasn`t qualified from personal experience to comment on the prostitution issue, she responded, "That is personal knowledge" from her familiarity with clubs where she had performed more than 500 times.

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