Mich. Couple Pleads Guilty to Obscenity Charges

Michael Hayes
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A husband and wife entered guilty pleas in a federal court on charges stemming from the sale of obscene videos and receiving child pornography.

John Messer and his wife, Deborah, began selling sexually explicit videos in 1996 through their company, JMM Products, authorities said.

John Messer pleaded guilty to one count of engaging in the business of selling or distributing obscene matter and one count of receiving child pornography. Deborah Messer pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and abetting the distribution of obscene material.

According to Assistant Mich. Attorney General Alice Fisher, who joined U.S. Attorney Margaret Chiara in bringing the case against the Messers, the couple sold videos depicting hardcore sex acts between humans and animals until their arrest earlier this year.

"The distribution of obscene materials such as these threatens the well-being of American families and must not be tolerated," said Chiara, adding that these convictions will help demonstrate the Department of Justice’s commitment to securing convictions for obscenity and child pornography.

Trial attorney Sheila Phillips of the Obscenity Prosecution Task Force aided local U.S. and Mich. attorneys in investigating the case.

Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 27.

The child pornography charge carries a minimum mandatory prison sentence of five years.