- Mark Gokavi Staff Writer
Charged with illegal sexual activity in a sexually oriented business and marijuana trafficking, Sarah Barnes on Tuesday was granted intervention in lieu of conviction (ILC) by a Montgomery County judge.
Barnes is the third defendant named in an 84-count indictment against suspects at The Harem to get ILC — and the third to avoid a conviction over the objections of the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office.
“Ms. Barnes admits that she’s made some bad choices in the past,” defense attorney Byron Shaw said, who wrote in a motion for ILC that his client is a non-violent offender with a previously clean criminal record who is now employed full-time and off drugs. “She’s one of those individuals that needs a second chance and I think she’s going to succeed.”
Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Erik Blaine said that, over the objection of the prosecutor’s office, Barnes should be granted intervention in lieu of conviction. Blaine ordered Barnes to complete 50 hours of community service and have no communication with most of her co-defendants.
Defendants Kayla Olivia Hatton and Anna Barnes both previously were granted ILC by Blaine, over the objections of prosecutors.
Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. announced indictments this fall against 11 people involved at the now-shuttered strip club on North Dixie Drive in Harrison Twp. The indictment came after a nine-month undercover investigation by an arm of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. Heck called The Harem a “sex and drug den.”
Heck’s office successfully got the business declared a public nuisance and shut down for a year after a judge ruled in favor of the prosecutor’s office in a civil case. The criminal cases haven’t yet netted any criminal convictions, though one defendant has pleaded guilty but not yet been sentenced. Some cases are set for trial early next year and others are in process.
Charged with drug trafficking, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and illegal use of food stamps, Aaron Crenshaw also was in Blaine’s courtroom Tuesday for a scheduling conference. That hearing was continued until Dec. 12.