Councilwoman going after strip clubs to get justice for rape vic - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Councilwoman going after strip clubs to get justice for rape victims

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A Houston city council member is going after strip clubs in our area for a second time.

Councilwoman Ellen Cohen is sponsoring an amendment to the city's budget that would address the 4,000 to 6,000 backlogged rape kits at the Houston Police Department.

Cohen wants to place a $5 fee per customer on adult entertainment businesses.  The money would be used to catch up and eventually pay for rape kit testing.

Cohen says, "Let's assume for the sake of argument there is a $10 fee to go in.  Now, that doesn't mean that establishment necessarily will charge that customer $15."

Cohen says a strip club could raise the price of drinks or food to supplement the $5 fee. However, we spoke to some strip club workers In Houston who didn't want to go on camera.  They say a $5 fee would hurt smaller clubs that aren't part of a bigger company or chain.

Cohen counters by saying studies show sexually-oriented businesses have a responsibility to pitch in this effort to get rape kits tested.

"There is information that clearly states that in areas surrounding adult entertainment venues there is an increase in violence," says Cohen.

Cohen says the amendment if approved could generate $1 to $3 million a year to help clear up a backlog of rape kits, kits that hold the peace of mind to rape victims who have waited months, possibly more than a year to get justice.

The full city council could vote on this issue as early as next week.

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