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Fullerton is Now Okay with The Naughty Teddy

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FULLERTON – from www.ocregister.com– A store once accused of operating as an adult business in the wrong zone might be allowed to stay put after city officials measured how merchandise is displayed there, an attorney for the city said.

The reason: The Naughty Teddy, on Commonwealth Avenue a half-block west of Harbor Boulevard in downtown, is no longer considered an adult business as defined by the city’s municipal code, said Elena Gerli, an attorney representing the city in a lawsuit.

For a store to be an adult business in Fullerton, more than 25 percent of its display area must be dedicated to adult merchandise.

Naughty Teddy co-owner Dawn Aquino said she recently moved all of the adult merchandise into one corner of the 5,000-square-foot shop and the items are clearly within the 25 percent limit.

City officials who showed up May 4 to measure the store agreed, Gerli said.

A judge will have the final say. A ruling is expected as soon as Monday in Superior Court in Fullerton.

“As of last week, they brought the store into compliance,” Gerli said. “That is what we will tell the judge.”

According to a lawsuit filed by the city against the store’s owners, an inspection by city officials a year ago showed that “one-third of the total display area of the store consisted of lingerie and other sexually oriented clothing,” and that the remaining two-thirds sold “adult-oriented merchandise.” The suit, which tried to shut down the business or force it to move, was filed on Feb. 15.

The city code defines an adult business as one offering “entertainment, material or merchandise” that emphasis “specified sexual activities or specified anatomical areas.”

Aquino said the section of the store displaying sexually explicit merchandise has always been within the 25-percent range, and the rest of the store displays merchandise such as lingerie and condoms – items that can be purchases at a variety of stores.

But Aquino acknowledged that adult items were sprinkled throughout the store, perhaps creating a false impression that the Naughty Teddy had more than 25 percent dedicated to the merchandise. So she simply re-arranged the merchandise

“The pictures they (city officials) had were when we first opened and everything was all over the place,” said Aquino, who opened the Naughty Teddy 16 months ago with Lanny Cohen.

A criminal case against the business is pending, Aquino said.

Greg Palmer, another attorney representing the city, filed the complaint against Aquino and Morton, alleging they misrepresented facts to obtain a business license and for operating an adult business without an adult-use permit. In July, the two owners plead not guilty.

A judge in April denied a motion to have the criminal charges dismissed.

It is unclear how the new turn in the civil case affects the criminal case.

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