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Adult store owners charged with obscenity

LAFAYETTE, Louisiana – The owners of two adult video stores in St. Martin Parish have been charged with obscenity after undercover agents purchased what prosecutors say is illicit pornography.

Prosecutors announced Tuesday that they have filed formal charges against Edward Burleigh Jr., owner of The Video Place, and Emmette Jacob Jr., owner of Le Video Store.

Both stores are on the Breaux Bridge Highway between Breaux Bridge and Lafayette. Le Video, a 24-hour store that advertises having the largest selection of adult entertainment “within 200 miles,” has been in business roughly 20 years, the owner said.

“They’ve been there a while, but that doesn’t make it legal,” said St. Martin Parish prosecutor Chester Cedars. “… The activities at these businesses embarrass the moral standards of this community.”

Cedars said that the St. Martin Parish attorney’s office and sheriff’s office began investigating the stores earlier this year in response to citizen complaints.

Two employees of Video Place and one employee of Le Video store pleaded guilty last month to charges of distribution of harmful material to minors for allegedly selling obscene videos to a juvenile, he said.

Cedars said the employees have agreed to testify against the store owners as part of their plea agreements, which call for probation.

Jacob declined comment. Burleigh did not return calls for comment.

Both stores remain open. Cedars said no videos have been seized and that the case is based on videos purchases by undercover officers – including one video that allegedly shows sex between a woman and an animal.

Obscenity cases are rare in Louisiana, but the law has provisions that outlaw sex images that the average person would find “appeals to prurient interest,” “depicts hardcore sexual conduct,” and “lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.”

“Now that’s a rather complex definition,” said Louisiana ACLU Director Joe Cook. “It’s a moving target. What might be objectionable today might be OK tomorrow.”

Cook said the state’s obscenity statute, which draws its wording from a U.S. Supreme Court case, appears to be selectively enforced, with some video store and sex shop owners being charged while others are never targeted.

Cedars said he could not comment on whether any other adult video stores in the parish are being investigated.

In an unrelated case, the owners of the Bad Kitty, a adult novelty shop in Lafayette, were charged with obscenity earlier this year in connection with pornographic videos seized from the business last year. Those charges are pending.


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