According to the newspaper’s reporting, Rancifer allegedly “served her up to be victimized” by leading the victim into Botwani’s office and leaving her there.
NEW ORLEANS (WWL-TV) — The operator of a Bourbon Street strip club allegedly raped a 16-year-old girl at his club last year, according to court documents and reporting from The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate.
Vishal “Bobby” Botwani was arrested on counts of third-degree rape, false imprisonment and indecent behavior with a minor. Orleans Parish court records show he was jailed Wednesday. On Thursday morning, a judge set his bond at $130,000, and he made bail later in the day.
According to the newspaper, records list Motwani’s father, Chandru “Charlie” Motwani, as the manager of Kama Sutra Cabaret in the 400 block of Bourbon Street. But the state’s Alcohol and Tobacco Control office had previously determined the younger Motwani was running the club on a day-to-day basis.
The cabaret shut down after its liquor license was suspended in February amid an ATC investigation into complaints of prostitution, underage dancers and underage drinking.
The relationship between the ATC probe and the rape investigation were not outlined in court documents, but according to the newspaper, both appear to have unfolded around the same time.
Botwani’s employee, Kenneth Rancifer was also booked on charges of second-degree kidnapping and being a principal to third-degree rape. His bond was set at $15,000 Wednesday, and he posted bail Thursday.
According to the newspaper’s reporting, Rancifer allegedly “served her up to be victimized” by leading the victim into Botwani’s office and leaving her there to be assaulted.
Investigators also determined that Rancifer was a club manager despite being a convicted felon who could not legally hold such a job, the ATC said.
The newspaper report, cites the New Orleans police, saying the teen who was allegedly raped by Motwani on Nov. 12, 2018, was from Ascension Parish and was visiting the French Quarter with friends.
The girl reportedly told police that nobody checked her ID at the club’s entrance, and she “bonded” with one of the dancers. She reported being given alcohol and being intoxicated.
According to the newspaper, she reported that one of the performers took her into a private booth to coach her on stripping. Rancifer then allegedly came in and told the victim that the owner wanted to see her in an office upstairs.
Rancifer had a quiet word with Motwani before leaving, according to the report. Motwani reportedly locked the door and told the girl he was the owner before inviting her to his “place” for a “fun time” in exchange for $1,500.
After she declined, reports indicate he raised the amount of money and offered to buy her a car. Eventually, the girl told police, Motwani made her get on the ground, forced her to perform oral sex and then raped her.
Police said a security camera video at the club showed one of the girl’s friends carrying her away from the club.
The girl reported the rape after checking into a hospital in Gonzales and undergoing a sexual assault examination.
Police said they identified Motwani as a suspect and the girl picked him out of a photo lineup, according to the newspaper.
Motwani was determined to be a “level 1” risk by the court, which is a term used for sex offenders or alleged sex offenders to determine how likely they are to re-offend. Risk Level 1 means authorities believe there is a low risk of reoffense.
Both Motwani and Rancifer could face up to 25 years each if convicted of the counts related to third-degree rape, which in Louisiana deal with victims who are intoxicated and cannot consent to sex.
Motwani could also face seven years in prison for the indecent behavior charge if convicted.
Rancifer’s simple kidnapping charge could bring a maximum sentence of five years in prison.