Josh Dulaney, Staff Writer
Posted: 07/19/2010 04:58:37 PM PDT

RIALTO – Internal investigators are probing claims that police officers were having sex on duty with employees of a popular strip club on Riverside Avenue, authorities said Monday.

“We’ve got confirmation that employees of the Spearmint Rhino were involved with officers in our department,” Police Chief Mark Kling said.

Nancy Holtgreve, a 37-year-old server at the club, told the department in May that she had sex with Officer James Dobbs three times last year at the Rialto Police Benefit Association’s union hall after she left work and while Dobbs was on duty.

Holtgreve said she and her co-workers after shifts frequently met Dobbs and other officers at a nearby 24-hour restaurant.

Neither police nor Holtgreve would confirm whether the other Spearmint Rhino employees were exotic dancers.

Holtgreve said she brought the allegations to the department because she feared for her safety when Dobbs allegedly abused and threatened her after she demanded he pay child support for their three-month-old son.

Phone messages to Dobbs though the union, at the police station and on his personal voicemail were not returned Monday.

“We know where Nancy works,” Kling said. “We have talked to a number of people in this investigation and the investigation has taken us to a business and some homes.”

Four officers have been placed on paid administrative leave while the department conducts an internal investigation.

Kling would not confirm the names of the officers on leave, citing the investigation.

Councilman Ed Scott, who owns a different downtown bar, said Monday he had heard rumors from his patrons that women who work at the Spearmint Rhino were involved with Rialto police officers.

“For about a week, that’s what I had heard,” Scott said.

Scott said he was very concerned about the allegations of officer misconduct.

“I’m concerned that a small group of them would be involved in any conduct like that with employees of any business,” he said. “It certainly isn’t the Spearmint Rhino’s fault.”

Kathy Vercher, the club’s president and chief operating officer, said she was not aware of the investigation and did not want to comment.

The president of the Rialto police union said Monday he, too, was unaware of any misconduct at the union hall.

“I can unequivocally tell you that I’ve had no knowledge of that happening at the union hall,” Sgt. Richard Royce said. “That’s not what the hall is for. I do not condone and my membership doesn’t condone that kind of activity.”

Dobbs sometimes wanted to have sex at the union hall, where there were at least two beds, Holtgreve alleges.

Royce said there are beds in the hall, but those are for officers who need to rest after working double or graveyard shifts.

The hall, which is located near Ayala Drive and Base Line, is generally used by officers during off-shift activities and official union business, Royce said.

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