The Iowa Senate has voted to close a legal loophole that has allowed a former southern Iowa bar owner to escape punishment for having a 17-year-old girl strip off all her clothes in his bar.
The establishment in Hamburg is known as “Shotgun Geniez” and the incident happened in 2007. The Iowa Court of Appeals last month dismissed the state’s request for a review of the case. A district court had ruled prosecutors didn’t prove the club wasn’t a theater and state law has an exception for nudity in theatrical performances. Senator Keith Kreiman, a Democrat from Bloomfield, says the proposal that won the Senate’s approval will hopefully fix the problem.
“What we’re doing is saying when it comes to minors dancing naked or in other ways that are lewd and you know intended to arose the desires of patrons or whatever, that in those cases it doesn’t matter if it’s a theater, a museum, a bar– you can’t do it,” Kreiman says.
Clarence Judy, the owner of the Hamburg bar, sold “Shotgun Geniez” in 2008 to the person who was managing the club on the night the 17-year-old stripped nude. Even if the legislature passes this new proposal, it won’t apply to the Hamburg case.
“Won’t be able to get him for that offense,” Kreiman says. “But if he has another minor dance in his establishment, there’s absolutely no doubt that he’ll be convicted.”
Kreiman, who is a lawyer, admits to being surprised when the Court of Appeals issued its ruling in mid-February. “The Court of Appeals decision and the district court decision were shocking,” Kreiman says. “In fact, I had people who called me and said, ‘Keith, I can’t believe it’s the law in Iowa that these girls can strip in bars,’ and I said, ‘I didn’t think that was the law in Iowa either.'”
On February 18, the Court of Appeals ruling was lambasted on the Bill O’Reilly show on the FOX News Channel, with the show’s host calling the case “stunning and shocking.” Kreiman says he didn’t see the segment, but has heard about the national exposure this case has gotten.