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Cleveland Investigates Guys In Peep Booths

CLEVELAND — Men having unprotected sex in a public place. They put not only their own health at risk, but also unsuspecting strangers, and loved ones.Video: Monday’s investigation leads to new law

Cleveland’s Investigative Reporter Carl Monday and his photographer Mike Leonard first exposed the illicit activity inside local books stores.

Now, two years later, the investigation has resulted in a new city law to help clean up local porn shops.

In an X-rated bookstore on West 25th, not all the sex could be found on the video and magazine racks.

“I’m pleasing my partner, what would you like to have done?” said a customer, on hidden video.

“No, not right now,” said Leonard.

Two years ago, unprotected male on male sex was running rampant in the back room video booths.

Channel 3 News was tipped off about the open sex by a local schoolteacher, who claimed her boyfriend told her he had unprotected sex with over 100 men, many at the West 25th bookstore.

Channel 3’s story caught the attention of Cleveland city council, and the health department.

“From the Channel 3 reports, its something, a concern that had been highlighted to us,” said Matt Carroll, health director.

City Health Director Matt Carroll and city council drafted legislation aimed at stopping the backroom sex.

But video store operators filed suit in federal court, calling the legislation unconstitutional.

The two sides have since settled.

“The intent is to eliminate the lewd behavior that was going on,” said Carroll. “And the settlement that has been reached, it would appear would have a very strong impact on eliminating that behavior.”

Based on terms of the settlement, city council passed legislation this week — requiring all adult bookstores to install video cameras in each peep show both. Store employees will monitor the booths. City lawyers can view the tapes on demand.

Cleveland’s Investigative Reporter Carl Monday tried to speak with someone from the company that operates the city’s three porn shops. He never got past security.

“I’m asking you to leave the property,” said the security guard. “This camera don’t scare me.”

Monday wanted to ask bookstore operators about what they found on a recent follow-up visit to the West 25th smut shop.

There was some good news.

The floors and walls were no longer covered with body fluids. And signs clearly warned customers about fraternizing in the booths.

But one thing hasn’t changed.

Mike Leonard, who was undercover, was immediately solicited for sex.

But now, with a new law in place, the city hopes camera shy males will be discouraged from looking for backroom sex at the local smut shop.

“There’s a great deterrent now with the video and we hope this is another way to get the message out about how to behave safely and how to avoid risk behavior,” said Carroll.

City lawyers promise they won’t prosecute customers. They will only prosecute the bookstores where violations occur.

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