Exotic dancers protest topless at Ohio church

WARSAW, Ohio (AP) – Exotic dancers from a central Ohio strip club protested topless outside a church Sunday in a demonstration that included a few heated verbal exchanges between demonstrators and church members.

But no major problems were reported at the demonstration outside the church in Warsaw that the club’s owner says has protested his business for eight years, according to the Coshocton Tribune.

Dancers from the Foxhole North club in New Castle staged the protest in nearby Warsaw. At one point, six bare-breasted women marched from a corner to the edge of the New Beginnings Ministries parking lot, and two women remained topless for most of the protest involving around 30 people who sat across the street from the church or walked around holding signs, the newspaper reported.

The verbal exchanges between the two sides occurred when about nine women came out of the church after services and confronted the protesters, the newspaper reported.

Tarps shielded the rear of the church, where most congregation members entered and exited Sunday.

Club owner Thomas George told The Associated Press in a phone interview Sunday that club dancers in bikinis held signs outside the church in protests four years ago, but that didn’t deter the church from picketing his business.

“I don’t have a problem with people expressing their First Amendment rights, but at what point does it become harassment,” said George, who apologized to the public and other churches for Sunday’s protest. “But they backed us in a corner, and we have no recourse at law,”

He says judges have repeatedly denied his requests for injunctions to keep church protesters away from his property.

The church’s pastor, the Rev. Bill Dunfee, told the Tribune this week that the latest action wouldn’t stop church members.

“We know what we’re doing is working,” Dunfee said.

Dunfee couldn’t be reached for comment Sunday. No phone listing for him could be found and a recording at the church said voice mail couldn’t accept messages.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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