Ark. Adult Store Owners Face Obscenity Charges

Tod Hunter
WIDENER, Ark. — The owners of the two Adult World stores in Widener have been charged on felony counts of promoting obscene material, according to information filed in the St. Francis County Circuit Clerk’s Office. The offending materials were not identified.

According to the filings, which were submitted to Circuit Clerk Bette Green’s office on Tuesday, Jim Philpot and Wayne Philpot, along with R.J.J.W. Enterprises Inc. and J&W Investments Inc., have been charged with two counts of promoting obscene material. The charges claim that the two men — in their capacity as principal incorporators of the two corporations — have violated state law by selling obscene materials from the two stores in this small Arkansas town.

Employees and members of management have been arrested for selling obscene materials in the past, but the charges filed Tuesday were the first against the corporations and its owners.

“We have made cases in the past against the clerks and the manager out there, and for the last year we’ve been investigating the gentlemen who own those businesses,” prosecutor Fischer Long said.

Long said that the charges are based on the law.

“I’ve heard the argument that these people are operating a business, and with the tough economic times we’re facing we should just leave them be, but my issue is with the law," Long said. "If someone was operating a business which sold marijuana or methamphetamine and the times were tough, would they have a problem with it? What is being sold out there is just as illegal as marijuana and methamphetamine, and is no less against the law to promote, sell or possess."

Long also told of his intention to pursue the case to trial.

“That’s my full intention. We’ve made several arrests out there, and there have been several large fines which have been paid, and the message still hasn’t gotten across," Long said. "There is a legal way to operate an adult business in Arkansas, but the material that is being sold out there doesn’t qualify and is considered obscene. We will prosecute this."

A representative of the store had no comment when XBIZ called.