Couple Sentenced For Obscenity

Tina Reilly
WEST VIRGINIA – In one of the first Internet obscenity trials to date, a couple was sentenced this week for running a porn site that featured graphic and sexually explicit scenes of urination and defecation. The couple ran a successful video mail order business from their home featuring content from the site.

The obscenity investigation was first launched by the United States Postal Service nearly a year ago, followed by an indictment that has taken eight months to come to fruition.

The couple, Michael Corbett and Sharon Bates, will each serve prison terms, pay a fine, and commit to supervised release after their prison terms have been met. They were also aided by two webmasters who hosted the site and shared some of its profits through a company called Tdigital Services, Inc.

The four defendants pled guilty at the time of their indictment in April 2003 to obscenity charges, according to the Department of Justice.

The Virginia couple and their respective employees sold the defecation content in video and DVD format via their website, which featured dozens of titles involving women relieving themselves, and grossed the couple just under $20,000 per month.

According to the Associated Press, the couple was tried for obscenity by a U.S. District Judge who sentenced Corbett to 18 months in prison and his ex-wife, to whom he was married during the period they were operating the mail order business, to 13 months.

According to reports, they will each pay steep fines to the court. Corbett has been asked to pay a $30,000 fine along with three years of supervised release. Bates will pay the court a $10,000 fine with three years probation.

The two webmasters were also sentenced by the judge for conspiracy to mail obscene material, along with conspiracy to use the Internet to distribute "obscene material."

The primary webmaster from Tdigital Services, Inc. was sentenced to 13 months in jail and a $20,000 fine. The other webmaster will be subject three years probation.