A 30-year-old stripper claims she was a "sex slave" for Hernando County Commissioner Nick Nicholson for months. Valerie Surette called herself a 30-year-old stripper with an on-and-off drug problem and she is one of two women named in charging documents when Nicholson was arrested for prostitution charges Thursday.
According to the woman, the 71-year-old Nicholson preyed on her "vulnerability" and did the same to other women like her. Surette says she would have sex with Nicholson in exchange for a place to live, cash for groceries, drugs, and rehab. "I had originally agreed to the arrangement," she explained. "I did work at a strip club, but that’s different. Here, I was a sex slave. … Whatever he wanted, I had to do."
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The commissioner is charged with two counts of purchasing services from a person engaged in prostitution. Charging documents allege the commissioner operated a location for prostitution out of his home. Nicholson was asked to resign from his post by the Republican Executive Committee of Hernando County Thursday, a role he has held since 2012. Surette’s attorney, Robert Morris, was granted an injunction for protection against sexual violence this week. She is currently living at Nicholson's home with her husband Kendel Surette until they find a new home.
Her husband told deputies when they were called to the house in February says that he paid the couple $100 on Tuesdays and $200 on Saturdays for sex with Surette. Nicholson would also allow Surette's other clients to come to his house for sex with her as well, according to her own husband. Surette says Nicholson would force her to engage in uncomfortable or painful sex acts that she didn't agree to. "If I didn’t kiss him or touch him or sit on his lap, he would get angry," she said.
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Sheriff’s Lt. Jeff Kraft says the women are not being charged at this time. This latest incident with the strippers is not the only time Nicholson has been investigated. In 2012, he was investigated for a relationship with another stripper but no charges were brought by the state. Neighbors say they watched as day after day cars and even limousines would stop in front of the house to drop off women and men.
"There are kids in the neighborhood, and she’s out servicing Johns in the driveway," a neighbor named Sheli Dile said. "It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what’s going on." Another neighbor named Connie Rasbach says she hopes the commissioner is gone for good.
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