Officer Mary Praither is the undercover Columbus police officer who alleges in court records that porn star Stormy Daniels groped her in an Ohio strip club. Praither said in her report that Daniels grabbed her breasts and buttocks while performing Wednesday night at Sirens Gentlemen’s Club.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is suing President Donald Trump in an effort to invalidate a “hush agreement” she signed about an alleged affair she had with the president in 2006.
She was charged with three misdemeanor charges of violating a law that prohibits strip club employees and regular performers from touching patrons. The charges were dismissed the next day, with Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein saying in a statement: “I’ve determined that these crimes were not committed, based on the fact that Ms. Clifford has not made regular appearances at this establishment as required under the law.”
The police chief released a statement saying a “mistake” was made.
The rarely used and controversial Ohio law, which was put in place in 2007 as the Community Defense Act, states, “No employee who regularly appears nude or seminude on the premises of a sexually oriented business, while on the premises of that sexually oriented business and while nude or seminude, shall knowingly touch a patron who is not a member of the employee’s immediate family or another employee who is not a member of the employee’s immediate family.”
Praither was one of three officers who said they were touched by Daniels while they were undercover at the club during her performance.
Some news outlets gave the officer’s name as Mary Prather, but court records and the city salary database clearly show she’s named Mary Praither. She also goes by the names Susan Praither and Mary S. Praither.
Three other officers were also involved in the undercover operation, Detective Shana Keckley, who said Daniels put her breasts in her face, Detective Whitney Lancaster, who said Daniels forced his face into her breasts and Detective Steven Rosser, who said he watched the “criminal activity” and called for backup to have officers respond to arrest Stormy Daniels. Two other dancers, Brittany Walters and Miranda Panda, were also arrested, the Columbus Police Department says.
News of Daniels’ July 11, 2018 arrest broke early in the morning of July 12 when her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, unleashed a series of tweets accusing Columbus police of political bias.
Here’s what you need to know:
Officer Mary Praither Alleges That Stormy Daniels Put Her Hands on the Officer’s Buttocks & Breast
An arrest document signed by Mary S. Praither on July 12, 2018 alleges that, on July 11, 2018 “an employee on the premise of a sexually oriented business who appeared at the time of offense nude or semi nude, to wit: topless and wearing a G-string did knowingly touch a patron in a specified anatomical area, to wit: Officer Mary Praither #1990. Did put both hands on officers buttocks, both hands on officers breast, then put her breast in officers face. Who is not a member of the employees immediate family.”
The document alleges a misdemeanor violation, and gives Praither’s address as Columbus Division of Police.
Court records show that Daniels was accused in Franklin County courts of three counts of “illegally operating sexually oriented business – employee knowingly touch any patron.”
Mary Praither Is a Registered Republican Who Filled Her Facebook Page With Selfies
According to Ohio voter registration records, Mary Susan Praither is a registered Republican.
She filled her Facebook page with selfies and glamorous photos, with a few showing her in uniform. Friends filled the comment thread with remarks praising Praither’s looks.
“You look more like a model than a cop. I’ll chalk it up to you clean up well!” a friend wrote on Mary Praither’s Facebook page.
Stormy’s Lawyer Accuses the Police of Being ‘Politically Motivated’
Attorney Michael Avenatti alleges there was a political overlay to the operation. “Just rcvd word that my client @StormyDaniels was arrested in Columbus Ohio whole performing the same act she has performed across the nation at nearly a hundred strip clubs,” Avenatti wrote. “This was a setup & politically motivated. It reeks of desperation. We will fight all bogus charges. #Basta.”
10TV reports that undercover officers in the club “said they witnessed Daniels using her bare breasts to smack patrons. The officers also said they observed Daniels fondling the breasts of female patrons.”
Officers approached the stage, at which time they allege “Daniels held the face of the female officer between her breasts. It also says she did the same to a male officer. The report goes on to say Daniels fondled the buttocks and breasts of another officer.”
Detective Shana Keckley was identified as the female officer who police say had her head held between Daniels’ breasts. She is pictured below:
You can read the arrest report here:
Avenatti followed that tweet up with another, offering more details. “She was arrested for allegedly allowing a customer to touch her while on stage in a non sexual manner! Are you kidding me? They are devoting law enforcement resources to sting operations for this? There has to be higher priorities!!! #SetUp #Basta.”
Avenatti then wrote, “We expect her to be released on bail shortly. We also expect that she will be charged with a misdemeanor for allowing “touching.” We will vehemently contest all charges. #Basta.”
Here are Avenatti’s tweets:
Mary Praither has not commented on the case beyond what she wrote in the court documents.
“This was a complete set up,” Avenatti told The Associated Press. “It’s absurd that law enforcement resources are being spent to conduct a sting operation related to customers touching performers in a strip club in a non-sexual manner.”
Columbus is located in Franklin County, Ohio.
Sirens Gentleman’s Club Advertised Daniels’ Performances & a ‘Meet & Greet’
Daniels was reportedly performing at Sirens Gentleman’s Club in Columbus, Ohio. Her real name is Stephanie Clifford. “We Are Now Doing Pre-Sale Admissions For Our July 11th & 12th Event With The One & Only Stormy Daniels! Please Stop By The Club In Person Or Call Us…For More Information. Regular Admission Or VIP Access Available Including A Special ‘Meet & Greet’ Session! #stormy,” the establishment wrote on Twitter before the arrest.
The bar advertised Daniels’ appearances on Facebook, writing, “APPEARING WEDNESDAY & THURSDAY NIGHTS!” along with a large glamour shot of Story Daniels. People put jokes on the comment thread before the arrest news broke. “I’m going dressed as trump,” wrote one man.
“STORMY DANIELS AT SIRENS. FIRST AND ONLY COLUMBUS APPEARANCE! JULY 11TH AND 12TH FOR 2 SHOWS EACH NIGHT. SIRENS, 6190 CLEVELAND AVE, COLUMBUS, OH 43231,” the establishment also wrote on Facebook.
Ohio Law Prevents People From Touching Strippers While They’re Performing
It’s not legal to touch a performing stripper in Ohio if you’re not related to them.
In Ohio, non-family members are not allowed to “to touch a nude or semi-nude dancer,” Charlotte Observer reports.
That law is known as the “Community Defense Act.” According to the Columbus Post-Dispatch, it was enacted in 2007 and this may be the first time it’s been used in Franklin County.
Columbus police said Daniels’ arrest was part of a “long-term investigation into allegations of human trafficking, prostitution, & other vice related violations.”
TMZ reported that “up until 2017, there were a total of 21 arrests. In 2018, Stormy is the 23rd stripper to be arrested under the law.” Two other strippers were also arrested along with Daniels.
Daniels Alleges Trump & Cohen Schemed to Hide the Affair, Which Trump Denies Having
Daniels is embroiled in the accusations that Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen helped arrange hush money to silence her about an alleged affair with the president years ago. Trump denies having an affair with Stormy Daniels. Daniels has since sued Trump alleging defamation and seeking to void a non-disclosure agreement. The payment to Daniels is reportedly under investigation as an offshoot that started with Robert Mueller’s probe into the president.