If you visit the website of DarkSide After Hours, you'll still find crudely designed event posters advertising 2 a.m. raves and boasts about "the club too krunk to be locked into one location." Fueling the party was a never-ending buffet of ketamine, LSD, MDMA, Ecstasy, mushrooms and marijuana, as undercover police discovered on their visits there.
But when the city caught wind that the dance hall at 3027 W. Northwest Highway was being operated without a proper permit and filed suit to shut the place down, its owner, Wyakie Glenn Hudson, insisted they had gotten the wrong impression. He was an ordained minister of the Universal Life Church, he explained. His spiritual group, N.R.G. Mission, used the building as part of its ministry.
"The weekly event known as 'Darkside' is just one of NRG's outreach ministries to young adults in the Dallas/Fort Worth area to draw them into the ministry," he explained.
How the church planned to reach youth through events that were clearly advertised as for those 18 or older wasn't made clear, but at least some of the target audience slipped in and partook of the drugs that were flowing so freely.
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At least some of those drugs were supplied by Thomas Eppelsheimer, aka Tommy Gunn, an NRG director and DarkSide's manager. And at least sometimes, Eppelsheimer would grope or have sex with the girls.
Eppelsheimer, 42, admitted as much earlier this month when he pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual assault of a child and one count of indecency with a child. Those counts stem from ongoing sexual relationships he had with two 15-year-old girls, whom he allegedly failed to notify that he had been diagnosed with herpes.
Child pornography charges stemming from images Eppelsheimer had on his Blackberry were dismissed, and, in court documents, prosecutors list several other assaults and note that Eppelsheimer's phone contained evidence that he had routinely invited at least half a dozen underage girls to sneak into the club.
Eppelsheimer was sentenced to 20 years in state prison, followed by 15 years of registration as a sex offender. As for DarkSide, District Court Judge Emily Tobolowsky ordered it shut down in August 2011.