By: News Staff

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) - The Board of Licenses voted on Wednesday afternoon to permanently revoke the license of the Foxy Lady.

This comes just one week after three employees were arrested following a prostitution investigation. 

Police said they received a report of a dancer getting sexually assaulted inside the club.

That prompted a weeks-long investigation where three workers were arrested for offering sex to undercover police officers.

The vote passed 3-1 to revoke all licenses at this popular Providence Strip club.

Board of Licenses Chairman Dylan Conley said there was a factor of public safety that went into the decision.

Conley said the vote now means that a precedent has been set for other clubs that are caught selling sex.

"It would be fair to say if prostitution at another club were to arise, it would be facing revocation," he said. "It's a reasonable inference that the licensee allowed a violation of state law on its premises."

The owners of the club said they had no idea what was happening, but that was not enough to convince the board to spare them of its revocation.

"You should be more attentive to make sure it doesn't happen," said Commissioner Delia Rodrigues-Masjoan during the hearing. "And have higher standards for your business."

Commissioner Peter Mancini was the only one on the board to vote no. He said there just wasn't enough evidence showing him that the club was responsible for prostitution.

"It was the establishment's first violation ever in 34 years," Mancini said. "I could've certainly supported some sort of discipline, but I thought this was extremely harsh."

The decision does not sit well with Meghan Peterson, an executive board member of COYOTE, a sex workers' advocacy group in Rhode Island.

She said even if prostitution was happening at Foxy Lady, those women are now in a much more dangerous situation.

"Really send a message to people who work in this industry that reporting a sexual assault to the police is not safe," Peterson said. "What it does is it drives [prostitution] to the streets, to a site where people don't have a safe place to screen their clients."

Even if those women are innocent of the charges, the board's ruling will stand and the Foxy Lady will remain closed.

Because of the closure, around 200 employees are now out of a job.

ABC 6 spoke briefly with the club's lawyer who said he doesn't comment on pending litigation, suggesting an appeal to the Supreme Court or the Department of Business Regulations.

 

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