Chez Joey owner speaks out following investigation - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Chez Joey owner speaks out following investigation

The owner of Chez Joey denies any involvement. (Source: WMBF News) The owner of Chez Joey denies any involvement. (Source: WMBF News)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The owner of Chez Joey Gentleman's club spoke out following allegations tying the business to two former employees' charges of criminal sexual conduct with a minor. 

Those employees are Lindsey Honeycutt and Anthony Strickland.

"The owners and staff of Chez Joey are shocked by the allegations against a former employee. Under no circumstances would the club knowingly tolerate such behavior on the part of anyone involved with the club. Chez Joey is cooperating 100 percent with law enforcement. The club is under audio and video surveillance at all times and has been released to the police. "

The owner, who did not want to be named because of the on-going investigation and the threats the business is already receiving, added there is no way children could have been in this business without anyone knowing or catching it on camera. 

He further denied any involvement with the former employee and those charged before his attorney advised him to make no further comments.

The surveillance video from inside and outside the business was handed over to police. Solicitor Jimmy Richardson said if investigators discover otherwise, the business could be forced to close.

“If it's determined that these acts that the various defendants are accused of took place in this business, then it would certainly indicate that this business is a nuisance,” Richardson said.

He added the victims in this case have been safe for quite some time.

“Once they were out of harm’s way, that’s when, you know, the story kind of opened up,” Richardson said.

The other two charged, are Ambrose Heavener and Panteleimon Spirakis.

Richardson said the charges these four people face are very serious, with the most serious being criminal sexual assault with a minor.

“Because of the children's age, it carries a minimum of 25 to life imprisonment,” Richardson said.

Richardson explained the fact this charge carries up to life behind bars is why bonds were denied today. The other charges also bring lengthy sentences.

“There's engaging a child in sexual performance and that carries, I think, up to 20,” he added.

Another charge is the sexual exploitation of a minor, which Richardson said also carries up to 20 years. Though police are still investigating, and the solicitor’s office hasn't received a full briefing yet, he said they did assist.

“Because we knew that this was going to be really big, one of our prosecutors was there yesterday to help,” Richardson said.

Richardson said this was to gather enough to make sure this can lead to a trial.

"That’s a big, big difference. It's easy to get enough to arrest somebody. You basically have to show that it's more likely than not that a crime was committed and committed by this person. Trial, you get beyond a reasonable doubt,” Richardson said.

The owner of Chez Joey denied the business had any involvement with these charges and allegations and Richardson said though these charges against the individuals are vile, everyone is innocent until proven guilty. 

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