Utah Sex Shop Raided, 700 DVDs Seized

SALT LAKE CITY — Police seized more than 700 adult DVDs from Dr. John’s Lingerie last week, claiming they had reason to believe some of the store’s inventory violated the state’s strict obscenity laws. The officers reportedly also removed invoices and other paperwork from the Salt Lake City sex shop.

Although Lt. Dave Askerlund verified the raid to XBiz, he would not elaborate on the grounds that an investigation is still underway.

Calls by XBiz to the number listed for Dr. John’s went unanswered Monday, but Josh Henson, the store's manager told the Salt Lake City Tribune on Thursday that police had yet to file any charges against the store. Henson said police told him they believed some of the DVDs in the store were obscene, which under Utah statutes could result in 3rd degree felony charges, a $1,000 fine and 30 days in jail.

Henson told the Tribune he had no idea why the police took the selection they did, claiming the roughly 70 confiscated titles from the store’s inventory were no different from fare sold at the other nine Dr. John’s establishments, none of which have yet to be targeted by law enforcement officials.

“I wouldn't say it's hardcore,” Henson said of the DVD selection. “If you want to look at it this way, it's the classiest stuff you can get.”

Most politicians in the state are likely to disagree with Henson’s assessment, as Utah isn’t known for its hospitality to porn. The state’s controversial Child Protection Registry, which went into effect July 15, 2005, brought a lawsuit from the Free Speech Coalition on the grounds that it violates the right of free expression, treats e-marketers differently than other marketers and potentially prohibits interstate communications outside the state, among other claims.

The CPR established a “Do Not Email” registry containing email addresses that belong to, or can be accessed by, Utah minors. It also criminalized the sending of prohibited email to any email address listed in the registry for more than 30 days. The service is free to parents and schools and costs $0.005 per email address for adult industry marketers to ensure that inappropriate messages are not sent to minors.

Utah legislators also have made repeated attempts to establish a tax on “adult-related” material and services.