A group of Shriners in Winnipeg has been disbanded following complaints about lewd sexual behavior at a fund-raising dinner last week.

Witnesses say the event featured nude lap dancers and sex acts.

More than 400 men attended the annual V.I.P Gentlemen's Dinner, organized by the 50-member motor patrol unit of the Winnipeg Khartum Shriners.

The unit was disbanded after an emergency meeting of Shriners executives on Monday night. They also decided all unit presidents and secretaries will have to attend sensitivity training.

"Damaging their position as role models"

On Tuesday, the Manitoba Human Rights Commission got involved, saying such events demean women.

Kenneth Filkow of the Human Rights Commission said, "We have a concern about the kind of behaviour that was reported, and I think to try and pass a message on to men that they are potentially damaging their position as role models."

"We're talking about a very small group of people who have spoiled the good things of a very large number," said Bill Kubik, potentate of the Khartum Shriners.

The timing of the scandal is particularly embarrassing for the Shriners, who are best known for their jewel-studded fez hats. It comes just one month before the group's major fundraiser the Shrine Circus comes to Winnipeg.