Posted by Allentown Area News.
The 24-year-old of Easton, pleaded no contest today to soliciting prostitution.
A dancer at an Allentown strip club accused of offering sex for money entered a plea in her case — the first of the Platinum Plus dancers arrested following a May raid to do so.
Victoria Schotter, 24, of Easton, pleaded no contest before Lehigh County Judge Maria Dantos to soliciting prostitution.
By pleading no contest, a defendant does not admit to the charges but acknowledges prosecutors have enough evidence to convict him or her. It is considered a guilty plea for sentencing purposes.
Lehigh County Chief Deputy District Attorney Bethany Zampogna said
Schotter offered an officer with the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of
Liquor Control Enforcement a sex act for money. The officer previously
testified he negotiated Schotter’s price down to $250.
Defense attorney James Burke previously claimed his client agreed to the
sex act for money but “had no intention of participating in that sex
Schotter said she is a young mother who no longer dances at the club but works as a bartender and goes to school.
Under the plea deal, Schotter’s punishment was supposed to be only paying costs and fines. But Dantos balked at the punishment, citing Schotter’s young age who has a prior conviction of driving under the influence.
“She’s not admitting anything, not telling me about anything that went on there and I’m supposed to let her walk out with a fine?” Dantos asked. “There’s nothing to help you or punish you if the criminal activity continues.”
Burke argued his client was not receiving a great benefit under the no contest plea because she would have the charge on her criminal record.
In the end, Dantos sentenced Schotter to one year of probation and ordered her to pay a $300 fine. Schotter declined to comment following the hearing.
Schotter was one of 11 Platinum Plus employees — all women — who were arrested following the raid. They were all free on unsecured bail.
Last month, five of the women were accepted into a first-time offenders program called accelerated rehabilitative disposition:
- Alisha Marie Litzenberger, 21, of Upper Milford Township.
- Mariah Lyn Graham, 19, of Lehighton, Pa.
- Alexis Blazinski, 19, of Hanover Township, Northampton County.
- Jamayra I. Santos, 31, of Honey Brook, Pa.
- Tiffany Ann Morresi, 20, of Lehighton, Pa.
One of the defendants died, so that leaves four dancers still facing charges — and at least three of them are gearing up for trial.
Kristine Arnold, 19, of Churchville, Pa.; Tawnia J. Brown, 23, of Ashland, Pa.; and Jennifer Beth Shonk, of Easton, were in court today.
Schotter, Arnold, Brown and Shonk had all refused to waive their preliminary hearings, which led to a contentious, nearly three-hour hearing in September. Zampogna said those women were offered the same deal as Schotter — pleading no contest and receiving a sentence of costs and fines — but they refused.
Zampogna said she understood the club was putting tremendous pressure on the remaining dancers not to plead guilty, which Burke objected to.
“(The dancers) are adamant the club had no involvement (in the alleged prostitution) and that they had no involvement,” Burke said, calling Zampogna’s statement “outrageous.”
Cleah Furtick, 31, of Bethlehem, has a status conference scheduled for January.