"5 women say Va. Beach restaurateur spanked them"
One woman wrote in a criminal complaint in April that a man walloped her with a horse riding crop and pressed his knees to her back when she asked him to stop.
Four other women filed complaints against the same Beach businessman days later, some accusing him of periodic spankings over five months or more. One wrote that she had endured strikes with a leather strap in exchange for a birthday party for her daughter. Two claimed the man wouldn't let them leave until they agreed to beatings that at times left welts and bruises on their backsides.
Later, police arrested 54-year-old Virginia Beach restaurateur Henry Allen Fitzsimmons on a charge of sexual battery and multiple counts of assault and abduction. Three charges of object sexual penetration followed.
A judge is set to hear evidence at a preliminary hearing Thursday. At an April 19 bond hearing, prosecutor Paul Powers called Fitzsimmons a "predator" who gave so-called scholarships to women in financial predicaments with the caveat they be spanked if they broke rules.
Defense attorney Robert Byrum called the case a concoction by an opportunistic former employee and others. "There's a whole backstory that's different than what appears here," he said. ...