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Liberty Square strip club manager gets five years after conviction

October 8, 2017 GMT

STAMFORD — The former manager of a Norwalk strip club shuttered in the aftermath of a sting in 2015 faces five years in prison following her conviction for selling cocaine to undercover officers.

Leigha Rybnick, formerly of Old Colony Road, Stamford, was given the mandatory minimum sentence by Judge Richard Comerford at the Stamford courthouse.

Following her prison term, Rybnick, 43, must serve another five years of special parole where she can be returned to jail for any violation of the law.

The months-long Norwalk police and state police investigation into The Office Cafe at Liberty Square in East Norwalk resulted in the arrests of 11 people, its owners, some dancers and some patrons on drug and prostitution charges.

During the course of their investigation, undercover officers were able to purchase large amounts of cocaine in varying amounts from small personal use amounts to eight-ball amounts, or roughly three and a half grams, police said.

Rybnick’s attorney, Stephan Seeger, said his client got caught up in the investigation, but she is a good mother with several children. She has been in jail since her December 2015 arrest.

“It is unfortunate that young women such as Leigha, who in the grips of drug addiction, are drawn into these situations. We need to take another look at crimes like these in the future,” Seeger said.

Club owner Gene Morrell, 62, appears to have availed himself of a court diversionary program allowing him to avoid jail time following charges of permitting and promoting prostitution.

Editor’s note: The headline of an earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the club’s owner will be sentenced to five years.