8 arrested in sting plead innocent
The defendants are all free on bonds and will be back in court July 11.
By PATRICIA MEADE
VINDICATOR CRIME REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- "It's not news we like to hear."
That was Boardman schools Superintendent Don Dailey's reaction to Friday's arrest of teacher-tutor Heather Wilcox on prostitution charges. Dailey said he'll monitor the court proceedings and then "act appropriately."
Wilcox, 25, of Maple Avenue, Boardman, who used the alias "April," and five other exotic dancers were arrested by vice cops working an undercover sting at Da-Bing, a restaurant in the Uptown area of Market Street. Wilcox also faces a charge of improper conduct in a burlesque theater.
Wilcox is a substitute teacher and permanent tutor -- mostly at Glenwood Middle School, schools officials said. Her degree qualifies her to teach grades 1-8.
Owner, manager charged: Da-Bing owner Bruce W. Paulette, 49, of Austintown and manager Michael N. Santangelo, 29, of Boardman are charged with operating a burlesque theater within 500 feet of a church, promoting prostitution and permitting public indecency. The New Beginning Church is next-door to Da-Bing, which opened recently at 2619 Market under the name Bada Bing.
Pleaded innocent: All involved pleaded innocent at arraignment Friday in municipal court and were later freed from the county jail after posting bonds that required payment of 10 percent of the amount. Judge Elizabeth A. Kobly set pretrials and preliminary hearings for July 11.
Judge Kobly set bonds for Paulette, who made an unsuccessful bid last year for Mahoning County commissioner, and Santangelo at $4,500; and for Wilcox, Kellie Csernik, 28, of Clifton Drive, Boardman, and Nicole Hedland, 20, of Rhoda Avenue, Youngstown, at $3,000.
Csernik and Hedland are charged with prostitution and improper conduct in a burlesque theater.
Hope Rager, 28, and Faith Rager, 23, both of Loveland Road, Youngstown, face charges of improper conduct in a burlesque theater. Faith Rager is also charged with drug-abuse marijuana.
Judge Kobly set Hope Rager's bond at $1,000 and Faith Rager's at $2,000.
Undercover officers: The sting used two undercover officers and a cooperating witness, all of whom had been given buy money. They showed identification at the door and paid $5 admission to a doorman.
Reports show they sat at tables near an elevated stage and watched as the dancers stripped down to G-strings and bras. Before long, Hedland approached one of the officers and, according to reports, offered a private lap dance upstairs in the V.I.P. room.
The woman simulated sex while straddling the officer's lap and pulled her G-string down, according to reports. When finished, she asked for $20 and stuck it in her garter, the officer said.
Police said the same scenario took place when Wilcox and Csernik took undercover cops to the V.I.P. room.