Porn News

Prosecuting Attorney Cracking Down

Steve Geeding, prosecuting attorney from McDonald County [Missouri] is the new kid on the block as far as cracking the whip on adults who are minding their own business. In separate instances, Geeding’s making the news in for his obvious intolerance to the rights of others.

PINEVILLE, Mo. – Planning to canoe the Elk River? You better keep your clothes on.

McDonald County Commissioners passed a law this week banning nudity on the southwest Missouri county’s waters. Violators can be fined up to $1,000.

Officers will begin enforcing the law immediately, McDonald County Sheriff Robert Evenson said.

Commissioners took the action after the sheriff’s wife and another woman were attacked over the weekend at a private beach in a subdivision along the Elk River, near Pineville.

A group of about 20 canoeists – including several topless women – rounded a curve on the river near the beach, authorities said. Diane Smith, who was with Evenson’s wife and owns property in the subdivision, asked the women to cover themselves because there were children present, authorities said.

Smith told authorities that some people in group started cursing and assaulting them.

Prosecutor Steve Geeding and the commissioners had been discussing an ordinance banning nudity on the river for several weeks, but the incident prompted them to take action.

“It was a horrible experience, but at least something good came out of it,” said Smith, of Bella Vista, Ark.

Michael Royal, 26, of Olathe, Kan., faces charges, including assault and endangering the welfare of a child, in the incident. He was released on $50,000 bond.

Geeding said counties in Arkansas on the Illinois River have similar ordinances, but he could not find anything similar in Missouri.

Also within the last week Geeding has been responsible for harassing adult video stotes:

PINEVILLE — Charges against three adult video clerks accused of selling X-rated videos to minors have been refiled.

Misdemeanor charges against Autumn Woolsey, Marcia Ann Bailey and Cynthia Blackerby were refiled recently in McDonald County Circuit Court. The charges were dismissed last week “without prejudice,” meaning they could be refiled by the prosecutor’s office at a later date.

Each clerk is accused of selling an X-rated cassette to a minor. Woolsey was arrested June 10 at the video store; Bailey was taken into custody on June 18 at the video store; and Blackerby was arrested June 23 at her home.

Woolsey is being charged with promoting pornography and resisting arrest; Bailey with possession of an X-rated video with the intent of selling it for monetary gain; and Blackerby with promoting pornography.

All three women are being represented by Joplin attorney Bill Fleischaker, who has also represented the store’s owners, Robert W. Crump Sr. and his son, Robert Jr., in past cases. The Crumps also own MidNite Video North, which is located on Route FF, the border between Newton and Jasper counties.

In October 2002, McDonald County Prosecuting Attorney Steve Geeding and Special Prosecutor Tim Finnical filed an injunction to close the store for at least a year because the business was being used “for the purpose of lewdness, assignation or illegal purposes involving sexual or other contact through which the transmission of HIV infection can occur.”

On March 8, 2003, McDonald County Associate Circuit Court Judge John LePage ordered the business closed for a year. Fleischaker appealed the ruling to the Missouri State Supreme Court, who turned down the appeal earlier this year as being a moot issue, since the injunction’s time period ran out. The store then reopened.

Back story to that case: For the fourth time in a month, charges of selling an X-rated video to a minor have been filed against a clerk at a McDonald County adult video store.

This time, instead of an arrest at the Midnite Video South store or at the clerk’s home, a citation and a summons were sent to the clerk.

Joplin attorney Bill Fleischaker intervened, asking McDonald County Associate Judge John LePage to issue a summons.

“I sent Judge LePage a note indicating if there were any more misdemeanor arrests related to the store or our client, if the judge did not have any other reason to feel that the person was a flight risk, if he would issue a summons we would make that person available in court,” Fleischaker said.

“It’s the judge’s call of course, and if he had other reasons to feel the person is a flight risk, he certainly can issue a warrant.”

In the latest case, Cynthia Blackerby, 43, of Anderson, faces a misdemeanor charge of furnishing pornographic material to minors. The same clerk was charged June 24 with a second-degree misdemeanor of promoting pornography.

According to a sworn statement filed by Southwest Missouri Drug Task Force officer Jeff Sutherland, Blackerby sold an adult video to a 17-year-old at the Midnite Video South store south of Anderson on April 27.

The earlier charge accused Blackerby of selling an adult video to a minor on April 26.

Both incidents were recorded by officers.

In the past incidents, Prosecutor Steve Geeding has said he asked the drug task force to investigate because it has surveillance equipment not available to other departments.

In the sworn statement, Sutherland requested an arrest warrant, citing Blackerby’s previous arrest warrants for failing to appear on other charges. LePage declined the request.

LePage was unavailable for comment on why he declined to issue a warrant. Fleischaker said arrest warrants are the exception in misdemeanor cases, not the rule.

Fleischaker said Blackerby is scheduled to appear in court Monday on her previous charge.

Marcia Ann Bailey, 31, of Anderson, is charged with one misdemeanor count of promoting pornography, Geeding said. She was arrested June 18 based on an alleged sale on May 5.

Autumn Woolsey, 27, of Joplin, was arrested on a charge of promoting pornography in addition to a charge of resisting arrest. She was arrested June 9 based on an alleged sale on April 28.

Sutherland said two 17-year-olds, a boy and a girl, have been used in these cases.

He said the two are “volunteers with an interest in law enforcement.”

Sutherland said one volunteer was sent into the store with orders to pick out a video and go to the clerk to try to buy the video.

If the clerk asks for identification, the volunteers are to show identification and leave if they are told they cannot buy the materials, Sutherland said. He said the volunteers are briefed on what to expect in the store and are told not to push the issue if they are carded.

Denise Lieberman, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri, based in St. Louis, said she could not comment on these specific cases, but she said the ACLU monitors cases in which officers use sting operations to monitor such things as liquor or tobacco sales.

“These operations must be set up to catch people already committing crimes, not to try to get someone to commit a crime,” Lieberman said. “As a general matter, the ACLU has concerns about the way sting operations are handled because there is a potential for abuse.”

Geeding was not at his office Thursday and could not be reached for comment.


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