LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - So many undercover investigations over so many years. Theatair X is now so used to this attention, they spotted our hidden camera in our first trip inside in January 2013.
In 2009, WAVE 3 went in to Theatair X several times with hidden cameras. We found activities inside that violated several adult business laws. Men watching films, propositioning our undercover producer and having sex in closet-like peep show booths, facilitated by holes cut in the walls of adjoining rooms.
It was all going on despite Clarksville's 2005 zoning ordinance that banned openings between viewing rooms, public lewdness and indecent exposure. The ordinance also called for unobstructed views of all areas from the manager's station - without doors or curtains blocking. A judge declared that ordinance invalid in 2010 because it never went before the plan commission and never had a public hearing. So the Town Council passed a similar ordinance.
In November and December, police pounced. They made seven arrests in two undercover stings.
"We're going to address the problem. We will be going back and if it's still occurring we will take people to jail," said Clarksville police chief Mark Palmer.
Police said management wasn't charged because there's no proof they're knowingly or intentionally involved. But when I went in undercover on January 11, the man running the place warned me about what was ahead in the booths section.
"Are you sure you want to go back there?" he said.
In four different January visits, we noticed little has changed since our report three years ago. Our undercover photographers were repeatedly followed in the packed, dark hallways. They were propositioned, and when they locked the booth doors, people tried to get at them through the holes cut in the walls. On January 29, I told the new Clarksville council president what we videotaped. He immediately called the police chief.
"I thought well if in fact you had observed discrepancies, that I ought to act on it right away," said Council President Bob Polston.
Two hours later, police rolled in with the building inspector, made one indecent exposure arrest, and issued 11 citations. They say 22 of the 49 booths had holes cut in the walls.
"They were professionally cut holes in between the booths. The holes were cut with a hole saw. This was not something random," said Clarksville Detective Shane Bassett.
It's all too familiar for the council president. He was the building inspector years ago who went in and cited Theatair X.
"On the glory holes and the construction part of it, I'm instructing our building commissioner to, as of this morning, to follow up on that," said Polston.
Two days later, we followed up. Again, we were propositioned. Holes between the booths were still there, with bare body parts in them we can't show. I asked the manager on duty why Theatair X was still not in compliance. He refused to comment and told me to leave.