COSHOCTON, Ohio (CBS Cleveland) – Dueling protests between a strip club and a church may finally come to an end after eight years.
A letter to Pastor Bill Dunfee of New Beginnings Ministries and Foxhole North strip club owner Thomas George was sent by city officials asking them to stop the weekly protests of each other’s establishment.
Members from the Warsaw church have protested outside of the strip club in New Castle weekly. In August, George and topless dancers started protesting outside of the church on Sundays.
“These protests are becoming a little more escalated, and we’re just worried about violence breaking out,” Skelton said to the Coshocton Tribune. “The protests are becoming more personal and more problematic, so we felt the need to plead with both sides to at least stop for a while.”
The letter by Coshocton Law Director Bob Skelton states that the feud is straining local law enforcement and hurting the community. It does acknowledge that they can’t legally be stopped from protesting.
Even though each man has made allegations against the other, authorities haven’t prosecuted those cases.
The letter, signed by Coshocton County Prosecutor Jason Given and Coshocton County Sheriff Tim Rogers, explains that the county is being defined by the dispute between the church and the strip club making it difficult to attract tourists and employers.
Skelton wants Dunfee and George to desist for the good of the community.
George explained to the Tribune that he understands that the feud isn’t good for the community and that law enforcement involvement costs taxpayer’s money. But on the other hand George believes it is necessary to draw attention to what he calls harassment by Dunfee and his congregation.
“What I’ve done is an extreme measure, and I absolutely apologize to the community for it,” George said to the Tribune. “It doesn’t do the community at either end any good from what I can see.”