The public is invited to “Operation Hotbed: Who Really Ended Prostitution in Deadwood?”, a co-presentation featuring the Honorable Jeffrey Viken and Mark Meierhenry, former South Dakota Attorney General, Wednesday, May 22, at 7pm CT (6 MT). Viken will be live from SDPB’s Black Hills Studios and Meierhenry will be live from SDPB’s Sioux Falls Studios. The simulcast event is free and open to the public at both studios.
Deadwood’s houses of prostitution ran openly well into 1980, until a firearm linked to the 1979 murder of a federal judge in San Antonio was traced to Pam’s Purple Door, a popular brothel owned by Betty J. Campbell, aka “Pam Holliday.” When surveillance and FBI intel produced evidence that Holliday had become addicted to drugs and was safe-housing illegal firearms and fugitives, Pam’s Purple Door and other Deadwood brothels were raided on May 21, 1980. The raid had to be kept top-secret, because many townspeople were supportive of the philanthropy and economic support the houses brought to Deadwood. Holliday was eventually brought up on violations of the Mann Act for prostitution, but served a lengthy prison sentence for tax evasion.
Viken headed the investigation and raid for the U.S. Attorney’s Rapid City office, and Meierhenry was SD Attorney General at the time. The public is invited to learn more about the roles federal and state authorities played in closing Deadwood’s brothels permanently.
The event is free and open to the public and will be webcast live on SDPB.org.
SDPB’s Sioux Falls Studios are located at 601 N. Phillips Avenue, Sioux Falls. SDPB’s Black Hills Studios are located at 415 Main Street, Rapid City.