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Herd didn't own a share of either business. The Shady Lady's general manager, Joe Spinello, tells The Pitch that he had never heard Herd's name until a federal grand jury indicted Herd. The Shady Lady is a family-owned business, Spinello says, and Herd was never involved.
According to court documents, Herd never took Shorty to the strip club that night in July 2004. Herd, who was 32 at the time, drove to a park and asked three homeless-looking men if they wanted to have a good time. They did. Herd checked Shorty into a hotel in Kansas City, Missouri. The men showered, and then Herd laid out the rules: The three could have their way with Shorty while Herd videotaped the gangbang. The men couldn't ejaculate inside her. Court records do not say whether Herd charged the men, who took turns having sex with Shorty. After the men finished, Herd told Shorty that she wasn't done. He was next.
On the drive home, Herd gave Shorty the sex tape and told her to throw it out the window. It was the only sex tape that Herd made of Shorty. Herd told Shorty that she would never have to have sex with him or other men again, according to court documents. A few days later, it happened again. He threatened to kill her if she refused.
The alleged abuse grew worse. Investigators say Herd started taking Shorty regularly to Erotic City in Blue Summit in 2005. Herd and Shorty frequented the upstairs area, a strip club called the Attic Lounge. Until this January, when the Jackson County Legislature responded to the charges against Herd by barring locks and doors on video booths, Erotic City had served as a destination for those seeking anonymous sex.
Owners of Erotic City deny that the 14-year-old was molested in the club's video booths. Ron Boone, one of seven relatives who owns a share in the business, says Erotic City workers couldn't have known that Shorty didn't belong there. "The girl had a fake ID. There was no rape that happened there. There's security guards there always," he says. "I think you can go into a bar with a fake ID and buy a drink, and they don't shut you down." Boone claims that all activity in the club is consensual. "If somebody would have just raised their hand and said, 'Help me,' it would have been done," Boone says. "I'm not saying what they say happened there or didn't happen there. I have no knowledge of any part of it."
At Erotic City, Herd introduced Shorty as his 18-year-old girlfriend. The two looked like a couple, a former Erotic City DJ named Eric Jimmerson would later tell police. Jimmerson told investigators that he had met Herd 15 years before, when both were Erotic City patrons. Herd claimed to be a former Miami Dolphins football player and part owner of The Shady Lady. Herd also claimed to be the owner of a Kansas City trucking company. For once, he wasn't lying: He and Kindra Herd ran Midwest Freight Lines.
Herd and Shorty went to Erotic City an average of three times a month in the course of two years, Jimmerson estimated for investigators. Jimmerson, who didn't respond to interview requests from The Pitch, said he witnessed Shorty having sex with several men inside Erotic City's orgy room. That included Herd, who left the door open so others could watch or join in.