HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — A Tampa strip club is suing a child sex trafficking victim — the latest development in a court battle involving the club where the victim says she was trafficked. Now the victim's mother is speaking out for the first time.
Scores Gentleman's Club filed a countersuit in mid-July against the child sex trafficking victim, referred to in court documents as Jane Doe. The strip club's response comes six months after Jane Doe sued the business, accusing the club of hiring and exploiting her when she was 17 years old.
The victim's mother, who was granted anonymity to protect her daughter's identity, says she's shocked the club took legal action against her daughter.
"I was disgusted and saddened, and I still can't believe it," the victim's mother said.
The victim's lawsuit, filed in January, accuses the club of exploiting a minor with mental disabilities, stating she "was repeatedly touched, groped, molested and propositioned to engage in prostitution with explicit sex acts being proposed."
"She was dancing, to her recollection of 15 to 30 minutes of her being hired there," the victim's mother said. "There are things she's experienced that she will never get over she has bad dreams, she has PTSD, she can't sleep at night."
Luke Lirot, the attorney for Score's Gentlemen's Club, defended his decision to countersue Jane Doe for damages.
"She was absolutely competent enough to trick the people that work at my client's club," Lirot said.
In the countersuit, the club says Jane Doe tricked them into hiring her by using a fake ID. It states she had "...full knowledge that the presentation of a fake ID was fraudulent and untrue, thus making an intentional misrepresentation."
Lirot said the countersuit is the only way to get to the truth.
"To find this out sufficiently and to hold the people responsible that had deceived my clients, this was the only option I had," Lirot said.
Jane Doe's attorney Michael Dolce said he plans to file a motion to dismiss the countersuit in Hillsborough County Court.
"You cannot legally blame a child abuse victim for their own abuse," Dolce said.
Dolce filed the original case against the club. It states Jane Doe was brought to the club in 2017 by Robert Torres.
According to court documents, employees at the club introduced her to drugs and alcohol. Police later arrested Torres for trafficking and he pled guilty to lesser charges in the case.
Scores is also suing Torres for intentional misrepresentation.
As for the victim, her mother says she's still in therapy.
This story was originally published by Jackie Callaway on WFTS in Tampa, Florida.