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ANAHEIM : Topless Bar's Liquor License Suspended

April 08, 1994|TERRY SPENCER

A bar that went topless last year after winning a controversial court case against the city has had its liquor license suspended for 20 days because its female dancers exposed their genitals to undercover police officers, officials said Thursday.

Sandraella's license was suspended March 31 and the club will be barred from serving alcoholic drinks until April 19, said Dale Rasmussen, district administrator for the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

State law prohibits female dancers at a bar from exposing more than their breasts and buttocks and they must remain at least six feet from the customers, Rasmussen said.

"Anaheim Police Department vice officers went undercover and on numerous dates saw dancers violating" ABC regulations, he said.

The city filed the charges with the ABC last July 31--less than a month after the bar won its court case, which led to the first strip clubs in the city in at least 15 years.

Randall Garrou, the attorney for the bar's owners, Robert and Sandra Dease, disputed the ABC determination Thursday but said it is impossible to defend against such charges.

"If a policeman comes in and says on March 13, 1848, he was in the bar and a dancer exposed herself, how can you fight that?" Garrou said. "Nothing had happened that day to make it stand out and these officers are undercover so they don't announce their presence. We can't dispute it, even though we believe it to be untrue. . . . If the officers did see anything, they had to look long, hard and sideways to see it."

The bar went topless last summer after a federal court ruled that the city's ordinance was unconstitutionally vague. The ordinance allowed the City Council to ban nude dancing at a public establishment if it believed such entertainment detrimental to the surrounding neighborhood.

Since then, the council has passed an ordinance allowing strip clubs, but only under specific conditions. For example, the club must be at least 1,000 feet from a school, church or park.

At least two other strip clubs are now operating in the city.

Ironically, while its alcoholic beverage license is suspended, Sandraella's is offering totally nude dancing, Garrou said.

"With the license suspended, (nude dancing) is no problem because (Sandraella's) is not subject to ABC rules," Garrou said.

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