About 30 people gathered Wednesday night to remember a woman who died days after being allegedly sexually abused while unconscious at a Lexington strip club.
Melissa Smiley, 37, of Lexington, died Monday night at University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital. A male employee at Fillies allegedly performed various sexual acts on Smiley, according to police and court documents, after she collapsed last Thursday night at Fillies Gentleman's Club because of a pre-exisiting medical condition.
The group at Wednesday's vigil, held outside Fillies, was trying to raise money for Smiley's funeral.
Smiley had three children, ages 18, 11 and 9, said Sarah Hall, who works for BeLoved, an organization that cares for people affected by the sex industry. The organization helped support the vigil.
Jenny Perkins, who said she was a longtime friend and coworker of Smiley, said Smiley was helping Clyde Wesley Sexton paint the night she passed out.
Sexton, 71, a handyman at the club, pleaded not guilty Friday to first-degree sexual abuse, court records said.
Perkins said Smiley and Sexton had known each other for years.
Smiley had quit dancing two years ago, she said, but occasionally worked at Fillies doing odd jobs, such as painting.
She said Smiley "was so proud she was finally getting her life back on track."
The cause of death has not been determined, pending further investigation and toxicology tests.
Visitation for Smiley will be 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Mount Sterling First United Methodist Church. Funeral services are scheduled for 1 p.m.
Rachel Aretakis: (859) 231-3197. Twitter: @heraldleader