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Grand Jury Indicts Priscilla’s

WICHITA, Kan. – A grand jury returned an indictment this week against a Wichita adult novelty store and its owner after thousands of citizens signed a petition demanding an investigation of sexually oriented shops for allegedly violating obscenity laws.

The indictment charges Priscilla’s and its owner, Robert Floyd, with one misdemeanor count of promoting obscenity.

The grand jury was dismissed after completing its investigation. No indictments were handed down against six other adult-oriented businesses it also investigated.

Floyd told the Associated Press he had been advised not to comment on his case, and referred calls to his Wichita defense attorney, Steve Joseph. Joseph was the former assistant district attorney who 28 years ago organized citizens in this same community against pornography, and prosecuted cases in 1977 and 1978 in a concerted drive to put adult stores out of business.

“We couldn’t get it done – the First Amendment is too strong, too important,” Joseph said.

Joseph said that after being involved for more than 30 years on both sides of the issue, he had come to believe there is no effective way for the community to put adult video stores out of business through prosecution. He said the correct way is to limit where adult-oriented businesses are located through zoning.

“This obviously was brought about by a group of people in the community who don’t trust adults to make good decisions about what to view or not to view, so they want to tell us what to view or not to view,” Joseph said. “It is the same group of so-called Christians that want to dictate moral standards to everyone in the community that are forcing this issue.”

The indictment alleges that on Sept. 9, the defendants had an obscene DVD that they intended to lend, sell or deliver, according to the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office.

The grand jury was impaneled on Sept. 19 in response to a petition calling for the investigation of seven adult entertainment businesses in Wichita.

A group calling itself Operation SouthWind collected about 7,500 signatures from people who say the stores sell obscene magazines, videos and gadgets. The court accepted about 6,500 of those, the group said. In Kansas, a grand jury petition requires 2,500 signatures.

“That says to me there are several thousand people in Wichita who say this is not morally right, it is not good for the community. It does not uphold family values and community standards,” said Pete Dominguez, vice president of Operation SouthWind.

Dominguez, who is also pastor of South City Southern Baptist Church, said he was amazed that the grand jury returned only a single misdemeanor count.

The group already is planning to submit petitions early next year for a grand jury investigation into nine other sex-oriented establishments in Wichita.

“I hope whatever charges have been filed will stick, and something positive will take place for the community,” Dominguez said.

A trial date has been set for Dec. 13, although Joseph said he would file a motion requesting a jury trial – which likely will push that date back to January or February.

Wichita is one of about 10 Kansas communities where similar efforts against adult-entertainment businesses are under way. Citizen-petition drives also have been initiated in Hutchinson, Great Bend, Hays, Concordia and Salina, as well as other cities nationwide.

Kansas law says any material or performance is obscene if:



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