Widower files wrongful death lawsuit against Lexington strip club, its owners and others

jmadden@herald-leader.comJune 19, 2014 

When a woman who worked at this Fillies Gentleman's Club on Winchester Road fainted Thursday night from a pre-existing medical condition, a fellow male employee, Clyde Sexton, 71, allegedly sexually abused her, according to police and court documents.

BY MARK CORNELISON

The widower of a Lexington woman who died last year at Fillies Gentleman's Club has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the club, its owners and the man accused of sexually assaulting her before her death.

The lawsuit, filed earlier this month by Joseph Ollie Smiley, widower of Melissa Kline-Smiley, says the gentleman's club owners — Manfred Jaschkowitz, Larry Windle Oliver and Kimberly Pulliam — allowed Kline-Smiley to be assaulted and they failed to stop the incident from happening.

Club owners did not respond to calls for comment. According to signs at Fillies, located on 987 Winchester Road, the gentleman's club is under new management and its name has been changed to Diamonds.

Kline-Smiley, 37, and Clyde Wesley Sexton, 71, were painting on July 25, 2013 at Fillies Gentleman's Club on Winchester Road when Kline-Smiley passed out. Police have said Sexton performed sexual acts on her rather than calling for help. The lawsuit says Sexton's "wrongful" and "unlawful outrageous conduct lasted until he was sexually gratified."

It took 20 to 30 minutes for Kline-Smiley, who was unconscious, to receive assistance. She was placed on life support at University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital and died July 29.

The lawsuit says the owners "were aware of the deceased's condition that resulted in her passing out at certain times and required immediate medical attention to save her life." The lawsuit continues that the owners "knew or should have known of Sexton's potentially violent behavior and fatal attack ... given Sexton's propensities and criminal history."

The lawsuit did not specify what type of medical condition Kline-Smiley had. Smiley's attorney, Kelly P. Spencer of Lexington, declined to comment.

Kline-Smiley's death certificate showed she died of a lack of oxygen to her brain and that her death was consistent with "acute effects" of heroin, the painkiller hydrocodone and clonazepam, an anti-anxiety drug and muscle relaxant. The death certificate also said that an "asphyxial component leading to death (compression of chest, obstruction of airway)" can't be ruled out.

Sexton was indicted Nov. 13 on charges of first-degree sexual abuse and tampering with physical evidence. He's scheduled to appear in court June 26 for a status hearing.

The lawsuit does not say how much money Joseph Ollie Smiley is seeking, but should cover financial damages due to his wife's physical and mental injuries, expenses of administration, loss of service, as well as for the medical and other final expenses, including funeral costs. Compensation will be based on the court's ruling.

Justin Madden: (859) 231-3197. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety.

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