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Oxnard : Prostitutes, Patron to Testify at Trial

Several prostitutes and one of their customers will testify against an Oxnard man accused of running a sex-for-cash operation, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

Henry Hardy Jr., 36, is on trial in Ventura County Superior Court, charged with 13 counts of pandering, three counts of pimping and one count of possessing marijuana.

In opening remarks to the jury, Deputy Dist. Atty. Michael K. Frawley said Hardy’s Stardust Modeling Agency on Saviers Road was actually a front for a prostitution ring. Frawley said customers paid $100 to spend half an hour in a private room with one of the agency’s employees, who described themselves as models or dancers, he said.

Hardy instituted strict rules to distance himself from the women and their activities, the prosecutor said. Two female managers “consistently ordered the women not to talk to Henry Hardy about what was going on,” Frawley said. “But he knew those women were engaging in acts of prostitution at his business.”

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Other rules, Frawley said, included not mentioning Hardy to customers, not having sex during a customer’s first visit and not soliciting tips before performing a sex act. Women were fined for failing to dispose of evidence of prostitution, such as condoms and condom wrappers, Frawley said.

Hardy’s attorney, Steven D. Powell, declined to comment. In a brief interview, Hardy said he was not guilty.

The business operated from 1987 until Feb. 20, when investigators using a search warrant raided it and shut it down. A customer who arrived during the raid will also testify, Frawley said.

At Hardy’s preliminary hearing in May, the customer testified that Stardust employees performed sex acts for him during seven of his eight visits.

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The Ventura County district attorney’s office has filed papers aimed at seizing Henry’s Oxnard house on the grounds that his $60,000 down payment was obtained illicitly. The seizure is on hold until after the trial, expected to last two weeks.


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