Porn News

Bad Kitty Owners Charged

LAFAYETTE, Louisiana – The owners of a downtown adult novelty shop have been charged with obscenity in connection with pornographic videos seized from the business last year, prosecutors said Monday.

Lafayette police officers seized about 230 adult videos from the Bad Kitty on Jefferson Street in May 2003 when responding to complaints that the store was selling obscene videos.

City Prosecutor Gary Haynes said Monday that he has filed formal charges against Bad Kitty owners Ryan and Erika Hargroder after police investigators determined the videos cross the line that separates legal pornography and criminal obscenity.

“Police have reviewed the videos and found they meet the criteria,” Haynes said. “… The material, according to police, shows explicit, hard-core sexual acts.”

Ryan Hargroder declined to comment on the charges. He said he was in the process of finding an attorney to handle the case.

He has said in previous interviews that he was not aware that any videos the store offered for sale were illegal.

State law defines obscenity as “any tangible work or thing which the trier of fact determines … that the average person applying contemporary community standards would find, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest; and depicts or describes in a patently offensive way, hard core sexual conduct …; the work or thing taken as a whole lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.”

“It’s whatever a jury determines is obscene,” Haynes said.

Haynes said he expects the First Amendment, which protects free expression, will be the central issue in the case.

Louisiana ACLU Director Joe Cook said the “community standards” test – based on a U.S. Supreme Court ruling – is difficult to understand and subject to varying interpretations.

“It has been defined by law, but it is still not explicit. It is not easy to understand,” he said.

Cook said the state’s obscenity law is rarely used and is a “waste of police resources.

“There are far worse things they should be dealing with in these communities,” he said.

Cook said he was not certain if the obscenity statute had been challenged in Louisiana. He said the American Civil Liberties Union normally does not get involved in such cases, other than speaking out, and that he is unsure if the obscenity law could be successfully challenged because it draws from the Supreme Court decision.

“The Supreme Court did a great disservice by carving out an obscenity exception to the First Amendment. … Censoring pornography can’t eliminate evil. It can only kill freedom,” he said.

Obscenity carries up $2,500 in fines and up to three years in jail.


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