Tacoma resident David Van Vleet filed a Public Records Act request with the Pierce County auditor as a private citizen, seeking the personal information of dancers at DreamGirls at Fox’s, a strip club in Parkland, Washington.
Van Vleet told local reporters that he requested the information because he wanted to pray for them.
“I’m a Christian,” Van Vleet said. “We have a right to pray for people.”
Auditor Julie Anderson said she would disclose the information to Van Vleet unless the dancers got a court injunction.
The DreamGirls employees sued to bar Anderson from disclosing their personal information to Van Vleet or any other members of the public, including names, birth dates and photos.
Last year U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton granted the strippers a preliminary injunction, and they moved for a declaration that the Public Records Act is unconstitutional in relation to them.
Leighton found that the PRA is constitutional, but granted the strippers’ motion for a permanent injunction to bar disclosure of the requested information.
“As erotic dance studio employees, plaintiffs are uniquely vulnerable to harassment, shaming, stalking, or worse,” Leighton wrote. “Plaintiffs have express concern regarding the enhanced risk that disclosure of their real names and other licensing information might bring.”
“They plausibly claim that they would not have engaged in their profession had they known that their erotic license information could be so easily disclosed to any member of the public,” he wrote.
Leighton found an injunction to be the most appropriate remedy, because among other things, it serves the privacy and safety of the public.
Van Vleet never responded to the strippers’ motion, Leighton said, and noted in footnote that “ironically, Van Vleet refused to provide his email address, phone number or physical address to the court.”
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