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Obscenity Charges Dropped…

Spartanburg, South Carolina- Prosecutors have dropped obscenity charges brought in January against two Movie Gallery employees as part of an agreement reached earlier this year that ended a related federal lawsuit.

The dismissals come nine months after Spartanburg County sheriff’s deputies raided the store at 120 Garner Road, seized hundreds of adult videos and arrested two clerks.

Shawn Wesley Price and Tamika LaShonda Grier, both 23, were each charged with disseminating obscene material. Grier was also charged with disseminating obscenity to a person under age 18.

All charges against Price and Grier were dismissed in light of the out-of-court agreement reached in May in the civil case, said Deputy Solicitor Donnie Willingham.

“That’s part of the agreement between the Sheriff’s Office and the county of Spartanburg to end that federal litigation,” he said.

Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright said he was happy the situation came to a “peaceful resolution.”

Price took part in a pre-trial intervention program, and records of any charges against Grier appear to have already been expunged at the Spartanburg County Clerk of Court’s Office.

Attorneys for the adult novelty store Priscilla’s, which officers raided the same day, and the Movie Gallery had taken the Sheriff’s Office to federal court on claims of constitutional violations.

The stores later agreed not to sell certain material accused of violating the state’s obscenity law, including materials depicting violence toward women, bondage and other sexually explicit acts. Most of the items seized during the raids were returned.

Obscenity dissemination charges are still pending against two employees of Priscilla’s. Willingham declined to say whether criminal cases against Permethia Burnett Bradburn, 33, and Eliza Albertha Gathers, 23, would also be dismissed.

The Movie Gallery, meanwhile, closed its doors for good this month.

Company spokeswoman Kristin Frazier said the closure came as part of an effort to reduce overlapping market areas for Movie Gallery stores and Hollywood Video, a subsidiary operation.

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