Probable Cause Hearing Set in Obscenity Case

Michael Hayes
POTEAU, Okla. — A state court judge has set a date for a probable cause hearing for the owners of Adult World, a brick-and-mortar adult DVD retailer in the Fort Smith, Ark., metropolitan area. The owners, Don and Wayne Philpot, were charged with two counts of felony obscenity and one misdemeanor count of maintaining a building to allow others to commit lewd acts.

At the probable cause hearing, scheduled for May 1, District Judge Ted Knight will determine if enough evidence exists for the case against the Philpots to go to trial.

The charges stem from a raid at Adult World last May, when officers from three nearby towns — Pocola, Panama and Spiro — descended on the store, seizing more than 10,000 separate items as evidence.

The obscenity case against the Philpots will focus on five unidentified DVD titles.

The raid came after an intensive undercover investigation by local law enforcement. During the investigation, undercover officers said they witnessed the sale of obscene material and were approached inside the store with offers of illicit sex.

The raid netted 43 suspects, who were briefly detained. LeFlore County assistant district attorney Margaret Nicholson filed charges against 23 people caught in the raid. Four men were charged with felony sexual battery based on records indicating that they allegedly tried to entice undercover officers into have sex with them or that they touched an undercover officer inappropriately. The remaining 19 people charged as a result of the raid faced misdemeanor charges of engaging in lewdness, inducing others to commit lewd acts or soliciting prostitution.

According to an interview Nicholson gave to the Times Record of Fort Smith, the charges against the Philpots would likely be the last stemming from the Adult World raid.

If convicted of the felony charges, the Philpots face up to 10 years in prison and up to $20,000 in fines for each count. The misdemeanor charge carries a fine of up to $2,500 and one year in prison.

Nicholson also is seeking a $100,000 civil fine against P & P Entertainment — the Philpot-owned parent company for Adult World — in connection with the case, as well as revocation of the company’s articles of incorporation.

Nicholson was not available for comment to XBIZ at time of press.

An attempt to reach the Philpots at the Adult World store via phone was unsuccessful.

The store remains open.