Spot Lounge, or P Spot?
At an Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration hearing today, an investigator said a Dupont Circle nightclub served alcohol to minors, and that one underage George Washington University student who was served ended up semi-conscious, getting raped.
According to an investigative report prepared by ABRA agents, on the night of Oct. 2, the 18-year-old was allowed to enter Spot Lounge, where she consumed alcoholic beverages. Witnesses told that afterwards, just outside the high-end lounge, which is located at 1224 18th St. NW, the student was barely conscious when her alleged assaulter, also a G.W. student, "announced to the crowd that he had just had sex with a girl."
One witness questioned "the validity" of the announcement and went over to the announcer's nearby Mercedes Benz—to find the barely conscious victim in the back seat with her underwear around her ankles.
The document says the alleged assailant—who was over 21 and had purchased a private table where eight bottles of alcohol were served—later stated to the witness that "I had sex with her but it was consensual. Don't tell anyone." The victim reported her story to police. MPD said an arrest was likely, according to the ABRA investigative report. Since names weren't included in the document, City Desk isn't sure yet if there was actually an arrest made.
ABRA believes at least two other underage G.W. females were allowed into the club on the same night, and that one was hospitalized after drinking too much. A call to G.W. hasn't been returned yet.
The board decided to schedule a "show cause" hearing (similar to a court hearing), a more involved version of the "fact-finding" hearing held today, to find out more about the allegations. "We don't have enough information," said Charles Brodsky, the board's chair. "We just don't."
Lawyer Ely Hurwitz, who sat next to Spot owner Osmar Nunez-Vilches during the hearing, suggested reports of the incident were confused, and that no employees recalled seeing the underage students at Spot. Talking with City Desk later, Hurwitz says the investigation was botched: "We don't believe they were in our restaurant. There's no evidence that that they were."
Hurwitz says there were inconsistencies in ABRA's investigative report. An initial police report about the student who was hospitalized, for instance, referred to the address of Spot's neighbor, Public Bar.
The biggest piece of confusion was that a campus police report taken in reference to the sexual assault referred to the underage drinking as having taken place at the "P-Spot nightclub" located at "210 Rhode Island Avenue." A campus administrator later corrected the account, saying it had occurred at Spot. "In fact, the evidence said that they were at P Spot," says Hurwitz.
The theory that the students were drinking at P Spot has a couple of flaws, however. First, the P Spot is an exercise establishment that teaches cardio-striptease.
Owner Michaela Brown says the closest her members come to partying is renting out the studio for group classes, and that she doesn't have a liquor license. The other problem? Brown moved her studio to 10th Street NE on Capitol Hill on Oct. 1. She had the grand opening for her new location a full day before the underage drinking reportedly took place.
Hurwitz isn't convinced of the studio's innocence. "It's like a club, they do bachelorette parties there," Hurwitz says about the exercise place. The P Spot website does refer to some of its group classes as "parties," but also says that alcohol consumption is "strictly prohibited."
Even if that isn't the case, Hurwitz says,"why did the police report make such a big mistake?"
The alleged assault couldn't possibly have happened right out front of the club, as ABRA indicated, Hurwitz says: "There's like twenty police officers out there. You think she's going to be sexually molested out there?" On the night in question, Nunez-Vilches says, there were four police officers and two security officers hired to patrol the outside of the club.
But that doesn't necessarily mean those cops would rush to check out what was happening between two people in a car on a Saturday night.
The show cause hearing hasn't been scheduled yet.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery