The owner of the building that was allegedly converted into an illegal strip club where police say a teen was found half-naked is speaking out about the shocking allegations and what he hopes to do with the building in the future.
Aubrey Williams was brought to tears as he spoke about his small part in this dramatic investigation.
"I was just trying to do something good for the community," he said. "I had no idea what was going on. What started as good intention, ended bad."
Williams purchased the property located at 3773 Plank Road roughly 10 years ago, but the building had serious fire damage. The property remained unoccupied all that time.
"It was zoned as warehouse space," he explained. "I entered into a lease agreement with Shane Theriot on December 17, 2014. The building didn't have electricity. It didn't have plumbing. It was a mess. Part of the lease agreement was that they had to get the building up to code."
Williams believed Theriot had plans to provide a positive environment for teens and only later learned that the property had been converted into a strip club.
"I went inside," said Councilwoman C. Denise Marcelle, District 7. "It was obviously a strip club. There were two poles. One was located on a stage. There were several couches that pulled out into beds."
She noted that several alcohol bottles were found in the trash. The building did not have a permit to sell alcohol and the Alcohol Beverage Control Board issued Williams a $750 fine for the violations of operating without a permit and prohibition of exotic dancers.
"The fine was to be paid by March 9. Mr. Williams called after that and asked for an extension in paying the fine," said Lynn Long, Assistant to the Director of the ABC Board.
Williams says he was out of town for business when he was contacted by the ABC Board.
"I asked for the extension because I was away," he said. "I couldn't stop it because I had a lease with them."
But business was stopped on Sunday, March 22 after a 16-year-old girl was found half-naked inside the club. Police said in the probable cause report that she was wearing only her bra and panties.
"I was looking for the backroom that police said the girl was found, but it wasn't a room, they had little areas sectioned off like cubicles," Marcelle explained.
The teen, who was reported missing to Baker Police on March 18, 2015, told police she was brought to the club by 19-year-old Kaylencieyia Carter. She allegedly told Carter she was looking for a job.
"[Carter] informed the victim that she would need to bring some lingerie and 'heels' but the victim stated she didn't have any lingerie," the officer noted in the report. "[Carter] stated a bra and panties would be fine. [She] and the victim were later brought to 3773 Plank Road."
The teen says she was later introduced to 39-year-old Trudell Richardson, a local rapper known by the name Squalee Pope.
"Richardson also informed the victim that he would introduce the victim to the 'money guys' and she needed to do whatever was necessary to make money," the officer noted. "The victim was advised that half the money she made would go back to the club."
Williams says he was never introduced to Richardson and only interacted with Theriot.
"Shane was the one who approached me and he asked if we could work something out," Williams said. "They put a lot of work into the place, but I really don't know how much money they spent."
As for the future of the club, Williams says he changed the locks and has no intentions of allowing the club to reopen.
"This building could be used in a good way," he says. "I plan to do what I originally intended to do."
Williams wants to use the space as a community center. On Monday, March 30, he met with Councilwoman Marcelle to discuss that possibility.
"I'd like to see the space used for town hall meetings, something that would be positive for the community," he said.
Marcelle says she's open to the idea and the two have begun discussing ways in which the building can be utilized by non-profit organizations.
"I truly believe he had no idea what was happening there," she noted.
Police are still investigating the case and executed a search warrant at the location on March 26. Officials say there could be additional charges or arrests, pending the outcome of the investigation.
Theriot was arrested and charged with contributing to the delinquency of juveniles, letting a disorderly place, and violation of wine, beer and liquor ordinance. He was released on a $950 bond.
Carter was arrested and charged with human trafficking. She is being held in the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison in lieu of a $200,000 bond.
Police have issued a warrant for Richardson's arrest.