Ind. Judge Orders 231 Adult Plaza Closed

Tod Hunter
ROCKPORT, Ind. — A judge has ordered an adult bookstore in southern Indiana to close its doors until it pays more than $360,000 in fines and attorney and witness fees.

The order came after Spencer Circuit Judge Wayne A. Roell found 231 Adult Plaza in contempt of court for violating a permanent injunction, the Evansville Courier & Press reported Thursday.

Roell had previously upheld a county ordinance that said sexually themed businesses must be located at least 1,000 feet away from homes, churches or schools and also regulated the amount of sexually themed merchandise in such stores — and found 231 Adult Plaza in violation of that ordinance.

The owners appealed the ruling, saying the ordinance violated their First Amendment rights. The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld that ruling in December 2007, and the state Supreme Court declined to hear the case.

"The defendants have shown a pattern of bad behavior since the time they first began doing business in Spencer County," Roell said in his recent ruling.

Spencer County officials adopted the ordinance about the same time the business opened, in November 2005, at the site of a former truck stop about 35 miles east of Evansville, Ind.

The new ruling says the store must cease all business operations in its main building without relocating for one year, and must pay $362,467.59 in fines and attorney and witness fees. He also ordered 231 Adult Plaza not to resume any activities halted by the court until all the fines and fees have been paid in full.