County seeks help

March 22, 2019

JUNEAU -- The Dodge County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution Tuesday night requesting the state Legislature to adopt laws that would assist municipalities in regulating adult establishments.

The resolution will now go to members of the state Legislature. It will also be sent to Gov. Tony Evers and the attorney general’s office. The resolution asks for additional laws to combat the illegal activities that are associated with these establishments and that liquor licensing laws alone are not effective enough to curb them.

Last year, several state legislators recognized the negative effects on residents, visitors and the general pubic when adult entertainment establishments are operating within communities.

The adult gentlemen’s clubs came under scrutiny in March 2018 when a Hartford man was indicted on charges of sex trafficking.

Right now Solomon’s, an adult entertainment club at 112 E. Oak St., Juneau, is the only strip club open in Dodge County. The Wild Rose in Lebanon was recently put up for sale, and in fall 2018 the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI and state law enforcement officials served a warrant on The Hardware Store and served arrest warrants on the employees there (the details of the search warrant were not disclosed). The Hardware Store is currently closed.

Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt did not speak to the resolution the board passed, but said it is difficult to regulate such businesses with local ordinances.

“The challenges that are currently out there regarding the liquor law is that the suspension and revocation of a liquor law is difficult the way the statutes are currently written,” he said. “They make it difficult for municipalities to enforce. State law is great but it doesn’t help to address local ordinances.”

Schmidt said he would prefer seeing legislation at either the local or state level that would assist law enforcement in making sure that the employees of an adult establishment such as its performers are law-abiding citizens. He said the only way it could be done successfully is through background checks similar to the ones bartenders must have completed before they begin work.

“We don’t know if the person working at these types of establishments has been convicted of illegal drug or illegal sexual activity in their past,” Schmidt said. “At the end of the day we all need to work together to ensure the safety of young men and women as it relates to sex trafficking.”