Friday, May 10, 2013
Georgetown police investigators allege Krazy Fish co-owner Kenneth Terry served alcohol to minors and solicited some of them for prostitution.
Terry’s attorney, John Hilliard, says his client denies the allegations and says the city has little or no evidence to back up the claims.
Police Capt. Nelson Brown said the investigation is still in the early stages and more evidence is being collected.
Terry was arrested April 30 at his restaurant in the 600 block of Front Street. He is now out of jail on bond as he awaits trial.
Brown said the investigation was slowed early this week when a woman was beaten and shot in a Lincoln Street apartment.
Many of the investigative resources, Brown said, were diverted to that case.
Hilliard: No priors
Hilliard, in an interview with the Georgetown Times on Wednesday, discussed the police case against Terry.
His first talked about the allegation of selling alcohol to people under age 21.
He said what police are doing is “investigation by prosecution” which is when authorities do not have enough evidence when an arrest is made so they appeal to the public to come forward with information that may help build a case.
Hilliard said even though police routinely conduct stings on Front Street and other parts of the city looking for illegal alcohol sales, there has never been such a charge filed against The Krazy Fish.
Terry’s arrest warrants, Hilliard notes, do not contain any charges for illegal alcohol sales.
Police say they have witnesses who claim underage sales have been taking place since The Krazy Fish opened in August 2012.
When asked if The Krazy Fish had ever been cited for underage drinking violations, Brown supplied an incident report from March 21.
A 17-year-old was arrested and charged with being a minor in possession of alcohol.
However, according to the report, he was found at the condominiums behind The Krazy Fish and not at the restaurant, therefore no citation was issued.
The arrest warrants
Hilliard said the arrest warrants only contain the allegations that are sexual in nature.
He also says nothing in he warrants indicates any of the alleged crimes took place at The Krazy Fish.
Hilliard said one warrant states that on Nov. 3 at a building across from The Krazy Fish, Terry paid a male to perform a lewd act on himself.
He allegedly paid the person even more money and was allowed to perform a sex act on that man.
“Prostitution is illegal for both people, the person who pays the money and the person who receives the money,” Hilliard said asking why the receiver of the cash was not charged.
Brown said the investigation is far from complete and more arrests are expected to be made.
Another warrant alleges Terry, on Nov. 10, paid a man and woman to perform sex acts on themselves in his presence. This allegedly occurred on a boat behind The Krazy Fish.
Other warrants allege similar acts occurred on Nov. 18 and 24.
A police report says a witness reported he was offered a partnership in The Krazy Fish if he would help recruit boys. This, the report says, included profits made from a pornographic website.
The police report indicates Terry “approached potential prospects” at the restaurant asking them to perform sex acts for money so videos of the acts could be posted on the website.
Hilliard said the arrest warrants do not mention a website.
The police report states since the first complaint was made investigators have “obtained and recorded sworn statements (written, video, audio) from several sources which have corroborated the acts” took place.
While many of the sex acts were allegedly videotaped, the camera was turned off when money was exchanged, a witness reportedly told police.
“We don’t know who any of these people are,” Hilliard said of the witnesses. “There is nothing in the warrants about videos or a website.”
Brown said much of the evidence police have is believed to be contained on computers that were seized from different locations.
Because the reported website was deleted, the computers have been sent to the State Law Enforcement Division for a forensic search to be conducted.
“If anything was in those computers, we will find it,” Brown said.
Hilliard said Terry is an openly gay man and does not deny he has relations with other men but he does deny payment or promises of a restaurant partnership ever took place.
“We deny the allegations in the warrants,” Hilliard said, adding the only thing illegal confiscated from the restaurant was a very small amount of marijuana.
Other things taken from the restaurant by police included a laptop computer, letters addressed to Terry, a cookbook, spice bottles and rolling papers, Hilliard said.
“Everything that has been said in the newspaper and on TV that is not in the warrants is just gossip,” Hilliard said.
The Department of Health and Environmental Control has made several visits to The Krazy Fish in recent weeks performing inspections.
On the day of the arrest, the restaurant had an “A” rating, as evidenced in photos taken by the Georgetown Times of the police activity.
That same day, police called DHEC inspectors back to the restaurant, according to agency spokesman Jim Beasley.
Based on what they found, the restaurant was given a grade of 68, a “C” rating.
“They had an ‘A’ then police came and conducted an extensive search all through the building and after that the DHEC folks came and gave them a ‘C’,” Hilliard noted.
One of the violations found by DHEC, according to Hilliard, was a hole in the back door.
That, he said was caused when workers removed a door knob.
DHEC also noted the coolers were left open.
“It’s our belief the coolers were left open after police searched them,” Hilliard said.
Two days after Terry was released from jail, DHEC returned and the restaurant now has an ‘A’ rating once again.
Since he says the allegations are untrue, Hilliard was asked why he feels police have filed the charges against Terry.
“He is gay. There are more tattoos at The Krazy Fish than any other establishment on Front Street. A lot of the clientele are rather scruffy folks. It’s a place where fishermen feel comfortable having a beer,” Hilliard said, adding the restaurant is located in front of a nice condominium complex.
Brown took exception to those comments.
“We enforce the law equally and unbiasedly and fairly across the board,” Brown responded.
By Scott Harper