(Clyman) The criminal complaint of a Hartford man accused of human trafficking details the alleged relationship between managers of Dodge County strip clubs and the dancers who reportedly prostitute themselves inside those clubs. Christopher Childs is charged in federal court with Sex Trafficking Involving Force, Fraud and Coercion. Prosecutors have identified four specific victims they say were forced by Childs to dance at strip clubs for no pay and perform sexual acts for money that went to Childs.
The 45-year-old reportedly controlled the victims phone usage, told them what they could eat, took all of the money the victims made and would violently beat them if they failed to comply. The complaint states that the prostitution occurred, among other places, inside the TNT Gentlemen’s Club in Lebanon and the Hardware Store in Clyman.
One victim told investigators that Childs had a “good relationship” with the managers at the strip clubs and would call them to verify how much money the victims would make each night with customers in the private “champagne room.” The managers would apparently send the girls home with their money in sealed envelopes so that Childs could be assured that the seal had not been broken. The punishments they would be subjected to if money was missing was graphically-described, “sadistic” physical abuse.
During a May 2017 incident at the Hardware Store, a manager identified as “Scottie” called Childs to report that one of his girls had been drinking and left the club early. During the abuse that followed, the victim defended herself by throwing a candle with hot wax at Childs. As a result, Childs called police to report a domestic incident. Before authorities arrived, Childs allegedly grabbed the victims phone and began deleting any texts, videos and pictures that would apparently connect him to sex trafficking.
In January of 2018, “Scottie” called Childs because one of the victims was causing problems with other dancers and with the owner of the Hardware Store. Scottie allegedly wanted the victim to go on stage but she was exhausted from working 15-hour days and needed to take a break. Childs apparently went to the Hardware Store and on the way home was stopped by a Dodge County Sheriff’s deputy who identified the victim in question as Childs passenger.
The complaint also details severe beatings, including one where a human trafficking victim was holding a toddler and the toddler was given to another victim to hold while the child’s mother was given, what was described, as the worst beating of her life.
Federal prosecutors say “witnesses have confirmed that employees at TNT handled arrangements for prostitution dates at the club and were aware of Childs role as a pimp.” Multiple witnesses have apparently also told investigators that Scottie and other staff at the Hardware Store are aware that Childs is a pimp.
The complaint also states that local law enforcement has verified prostitution activity taking place at the Hardware Store through numerous complaints and law enforcement contacts.
The Hardware Store is owned by Mike Seigel who is also the Village President in Clyman and also owns the Solomon Strip Club in Juneau, which used to be Silk Exotic; neither Solomon nor Silks were referenced in the complaint. Our attempts to reach Seigel were unsuccessful as his phone contact number listed on the village website has been disconnected. Meanwhile, Childs is slated to appear for an arraignment hearing in a federal courtroom next Thursday.