News 12 at 11, February 15, 2008
NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- A recent sex sting in Augusta,
deputies arresting 10 men that was at Augusta's Pendelton King Park and Lake Olmstead.
Then, a News 12 investigation finds many more locations where men may be meeting for public sex, as many as 16 places in Augusta alone.
In Aiken County, six locations from parks to businesses between North Augusta and Aiken.
Now, one business owner is speaking out.
Debbie Weeks has owned The Shack in North Augusta for over a year, and while this isn't the first time she's heard about men possibly cruising for sex in her bar she says our investigation is hitting home. She's known by friends as Doober and she has a bit of a reputation at her bar "It's zero tolerance."
She has no patience for trouble, especially when it comes to sex in public. "It's offensive to anybody who's got half a brain."
But that's just what men say they are doing at The Shack, cruising for other men and they're specific about the spot--- the downstairs bathroom.
"It really shocked me, and I've seen a lot." She's talking about our report naming The Shack and five other public places as a place men say they go to solicit sex in public. "I was just flabbergasted. I couldn't talk. I have a pretty good caliber of people who come in here and it thought what are they going to think when they hear this?"
And surprisingly, this isn't the first time Debbie's heard men may be using The Shack to cruise, "I got a phone call one day and a guy asked me what kind of bar it was, I said a bar." She says the man then got specific. "Y'all are with Mae video and y'all are like a cruise bar."
Debbie says she quickly set the man straight, that was eight months ago, and she hadn't thought any more of it--until now. "That's my livelihood. I don't want my business messed up."
She says she's never seen anything to suggest it is actually happening inside. "I'm 98 percent sure it's not." But just in case, she's taking action to protect herself and her customers. "I'll close the downstairs up and we'll just have a long line to the bathroom."
It's a wait Doober says she can handle because the alternative is something she says no one should have to see.