Obscenity Sentence Called the Stiffest in Recent Times

Rhett Pardon
BILLINGS, Mont. — Adult distributor Sanford Wasserman, who sold such videos as “Physically Raped,” “Anything Goes” and “Rape and Sodomize,” has been sentenced by a federal judge to five years in prison without the possibility of parole for conspiring to distribute obscene videotapes.

U.S. Attorney Bill Mercer called Wasserman’s five-year sentence one of the stiffest imposed in a recent obscenity case. Wasserman, 65, conspired with Thomas Lambert of Montana to distribute obscene videos through FedEx and the U.S. Postal Service, prosecutors said.

Wasserman and Lambert ran their business from 1998 to 2002 under several company names, including Pet Tec, the PT Co., Digital Technology, New Technology and Brightstar.

In court transcripts, prosecutors characterized some of the videotapes, which were available through mail-order catalogs, as depicting bestiality, gang rapes and sex involving urination, defecation and sadistic and masochistic conduct.

“An average person, applying local community standards, would find that the videotapes provided by Wasserman specifically appealed to prurient sexual desire, were patently offensive, and contained no literary, artistic, political or scientific value of any kind,” U.S. Judge Richard F. Cebull said during sentencing.

Wasserman pleaded guilty earlier this year under an agreement that allows him some appeal rights. He later tried to withdraw the plea but was turned down by the judge. It was the second offense for Wasserman, who had been convicted of distributing obscene materials in Texas during 2001.

Lambert pleaded guilty and was sentenced in June to 2½ years in prison.

Wasserman, of Lauderhill, Fla., blasted his attorney at a hearing earlier this month, calling him ineffective. The judge said he would appoint a new attorney to preserve Wasserman’s right to appeal.