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Cooperation leads to man's arrest for sex crimes

Curry faces trial based on missing girl working at strip clubs

A Beaverton police investigator is hopeful a phone call that led to a man’s arrest on sex-related charges involving a 15-year-old girl working as a stripper indicates a change in how such crimes come to light.

A call from a manager of Stars Cabaret, 4570 S.W. Lombard Ave., led Beaverton police to arrest Portland resident Anthony Curry in early September on accusations of facilitating the girl’s employment as a nude dancer at three local strip clubs.

Based on a Washington County grand jury indictment, Curry was arraigned on Sept. 30 on seven counts of using a child in a display of sexual conduct, said Washington County Assistant District Attorney Kevin Barton.

Beaverton police Detective Chad Opitz said the phone call, which came in the immediate wake of a former Stars manager’s recent conviction on sex-abuse charges, provided the impetus to arrest Curry.

“Stars is the one that got the ball rolling on it,” Opitz said. “They’re being careful. If they were not being careful, we wouldn’t have gotten a call advising us they thought one of their dancers was a girl reported as missing.”

The victim was reported missing in early July. Following the phone call tip, investigators found Curry, 49, with the 15-year-old when Curry dropped her off for a shift outside the Sunset Strip club in Cedar Hills.

“We didn’t know he even existed until that day,” Opitz said. “We got cooperation from Stars (Cabaret) management, recognizing the victim from a missing children’s website after she’d been working there.”

The victim told investigators Curry helped her find work stripping in the clubs following attempts to get her into prostitution. Using a fake identification card to secure employment, the victim worked at Sunset Strip, Club Dolphin II at 10860 S.W. Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway, and Jags Clubhouse in North Portland.

“All management (employees) realized the severity and the necessity as far as helping this victim out,” Opitz noted.

Curry, whose trial date is set for Tuesday, Nov. 4, is lodged in the Washington County Jail pending $1.75 million bail set by Circuit Judge Beth Roberts. Curry is required to post 10 percent of the amount to be released, Barton said.

Defendant faces three-strikes law

Based on his criminal history, including convictions for third-degree rape and promoting and compelling prostitution, Curry could face a sentence of life in prison without chance of parole based on Oregon’s three-strikes law for sex offenders.

“The fact that he has two priors, and if this is his third (conviction), there is a presumptive life sentence,” Barton said, noting that state law calls for a minimum 25-year sentence for two convictions of major felony sex crimes. “There are three separate sentencing laws involved with this case.”

Opitz suspects the new sense of cooperation with club operators that resulted in the phone call from Stars Cabaret was prompted by two recent convictions related to the club. Former Stars manager Steven Toth was sentenced on Sept. 17 to 15 years in prison based on a plea agreement for his role in prostituting a 13-year-old girl, employing her as a stripper and having her perform sex acts for customers of the club.

On Sept. 26, Circuit Judge Thomas Kohl sentenced Beaverton resident Victor Moreno-Hernandez, 28, to 30 years and 10 months for his conviction on 13 counts, including first-degree sexual abuse, second-degree rape, compelling a minor into prostitution and unlawful delivery of methamphetamine to a minor.

Kohl required both Toth and Moreno-Hernandez to pay a compensatory fine of $150,000 each for profiting off the victim.

Eyes wide open

Despite the recent arrests and convictions related to area strip clubs, Opitz, who is part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Innocence Lost Task Force, said he has no reason to believe there is an unusual surge of illicit activity involving minors — at least as related to Beaverton clubs.

“I think every strip club, anywhere, at some point, at least one of the dancers is involved with prostitution somehow,” he said, noting the activity is more common in the relative privacy of hotel rooms. “I think the two cases, (Toth) and Curry, are unique cases. There aren’t any active cases going on at any of the (strip) clubs.”

That said, Opitz is hopeful the recent high-profile cases will lead to better diligence and scrutiny on the part of club owners.

“I think their eyes have been opened on that,” he said. “If we get reports or information on something happening, we’ll do what we need to do to look into it.”