Crime

Trial begins for man accused of sexually abusing unconscious woman at Lexington strip club

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.
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.

A trial began Tuesday for a man accused of sexually abusing a woman while she was unconscious at a Lexington strip club.

Clyde Wesley Sexton, 73, is charged with the first-degree sexual abuse of Melissa Smiley, 37, after she collapsed at Fillies Gentleman's Club, now called Diamonds, on Winchester Road. Smiley later died of a heroin overdose, but Sexton is not charged in connection with her death.

Smiley and Sexton were painting a dressing room at the club on July 25, 2013, when she passed out. Police have said Sexton performed sexual acts on her rather than calling for help.

It took several minutes for Smiley, who was unconscious, to receive assistance. She was placed on life support at University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital and died four days later.

Smiley's mother, Edwina Robinson of Winchester, said her daughter "did everything she could" to break her addiction.

"It was a devil she couldn't get rid of," Robinson testified.

On the day Smiley collapsed, Larry Sipes, who did cleaning and maintenance chores at Fillies, had unlocked and entered what he thought was an empty club to turn on some sound equipment. He was surprised to see Sexton walking among the tables and talking on a phone. Sexton told Sipes that Smiley had passed out. Sipes went to the dressing room and found Smiley lying on her back on the floor by a mirror.

"She looked dead," Sipes recalled. "She was blue. ... Her eyes were wide open."

Sipes testified that he was surprised that Sexton had not called for emergency responders.

"I asked Clyde why he was calling her boyfriend and not an ambulance," Sipes said. "... He didn't call 911 until I made him call 911."

On cross-examination, defense attorney Charles Gore asked whether Sexton had handed Sipes a phone.

"I do not remember him handing me his phone," Sipes said. "... He never handed me his phone."

Dr. Kristin Rolf, the medical examiner who performed the autopsy on Smiley, testified via Skype from Alaska, where she now lives. Rolf said Smiley died of the acute toxic effects of heroin, the components of which were present in Smiley's system.

Although Smiley had a boyfriend, she and Sexton had an ongoing consensual sexual relationship, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Kathy Phillips said during jury selection.

Smiley had also once been a dancer at the club, Phillips said. Sonda Mize, the fiancee of a disc jockey at the club, testified that she remembered Smiley dancing under the stage name of "Jasmine."

Sexton also is charged with tampering with evidence, because one of two surveillance cameras in the dressing room was covered with a towel or handkerchief. Sipes testified that Sexton said he had covered the camera because of the painting that he and Smiley were doing.

Sexton will testify during the trial, Gore said during jury selection.

Seven women and six men were seated on the jury; an alternate juror will be excused before deliberations begin.

The trial, presided over by Judge Kimberly Bunnell, will resume at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.

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