A grand jury this week handed down one obscenity indictment against adult retailer Priscilla’s but chose not to indict six other stores targeted in a month-long investigation.
The Sedgwick County district attorney’s office announced Tuesday that it has charged Priscilla's owner Bob Floyd and his store with one count of promoting obscenity, a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a maximum $2,500 fine.
A bench trial has been scheduled to begin Dec. 13, but Floyd’s attorney, Steve Joseph, said he plans to file a motion for a jury trial, which could delay the trial by several months.
Joseph is himself a former district attorney who had aggressively — but unsuccessfully — prosecuted adult entertainment businesses in the 1970s. Since leaving the district attorney’s office, Joseph enjoyed more success defending the same businesses he once tried to destroy. He says the charge against Priscilla’s won’t stand up in court.
“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.”
As XBiz has reported, the grand jury investigation came at the request of a group called Operation Southwind, which has effectively persuaded prosecutors throughout the state to wage a legal war on adult-oriented businesses.
Other stores targeted in the latest effort but not charged were Adult Superstore, Camelot Cinema, two X-Citement Video stores, Zigefields and After Dark Video.
Floyd owns 13 Priscilla’s stores, including a second Wichita store that was not charged. According to the Associated Press, the obscenity charge against Priscilla’s is based on a video from adult studio Extreme 2.0, which, apparently, was not sold at other stores under investigation.
Operation Southwind has started another petition against nine other adult businesses in Wichita. Beemer said the group also intends to gather signatures against adult businesses outside of Wichita.
Wichita is one of a dozen Kansas communities where adult businesses are under fire. Special interest groups also have launched petition drives in Hutchinson, Great Bend, Hays, Concordia and Salina, among others.