A Miami man who repeatedly took his teen daughter to the Pink Pony strip club to party must serve five years of probation under a plea deal struck on Thursday.
Jose Manuel Arguelles pleaded no contest to 10 counts of child abuse while prosecutors dropped more serious felony charges of providing drugs to a minor and promoting the sexual performance of a minor.
Under the plea deal, Arguelles will not be a convicted felon, although he did accept guilty pleas to two minor counts of providing alcohol to a minor — video showed him, his 16-year-old daughter and another teen girl drinking in the VIP lounge of the Doral strip club.
“He obviously made a huge lapse in judgment,” said his attorney, Edward O’Donnell IV. “The irony is that he is a very good father.”
O’Donnell said Arguelles, a car body-shop owner, would often drug-test his daughter and refused to let her get tattoos. Under the plea deal, Arguelles must also remain in his home under a curfew for one year.
Prosecutors have also dropped a misdemeanor charge involving an alligator that was seized from a cage in Arguelles’ backyard.
Hialeah police initially alleged that Arguelles, 60, took his daughter and her 17-year-old friend to the club and allowed them to smoke weed, snort cocaine and dance on a stage.
The police investigation was sparked after the 17-year-old’s mother saw photos and video of the partying on the girl’s cellphone.
“The defendant also has photos and videos showing the victims dancing on what appears to be a ‘stripper pole’ while on the defendant’s boat, wearing bikinis in the presence of adults,” a detective wrote in an arrest report.
But according to a final report issued Thursday, the evidence revealed that the 17-year-old friend was frequenting the club on her own and providing some of the drugs to her younger friend, not Arguelles.
“There is no evidence that the defendant provided the drug to the minors,” according to the final report by prosecutor Luis Caso.
And while the videos depicted the girls dancing, they were not naked, the report said.
In all, Arguelles admitted to taking her to the Pink Pony five separate times. City inspectors temporarily closed down the Pink Pony; it has since reopened.