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Porn Store Owner Files Suit Against City

Porn Store Owner Files Suit Against City
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Apr 14, 2004 3:08 PM PDT    Text size: 
DANVILLE, Pa. – The owner of an adult video store in a remote region of the Susquehanna Valley has filed a lawsuit against City Hall for what he is calling "unconstitutional and discriminatory" treatment.

The owner of the Video Warehouse, an adult entertainment business located in an established business zone near Route 1, is claiming that the county building inspector harassed him in an effort to shut down his business.

Paul Doherty, the store owner, has asserted through his lawyer, John Keilty, that the city deliberately pressured him to shut down through unconstitutional means. Papers filed in court specifically cite Building Inspector Ralph Gandolfo as having played a significant role in his harassment allegations.

Doherty first opened Video Warehouse in April of 2001 as a mainstream video establishment, but then a year later he changed the store's content to adult entertainment and included sex toys, magazines and other related adult items.

The city issued a cease-and-desist order against Doherty a month later, urging him to shut down his business. The city claimed at the time that in order for Doherty to change the nature of his business, he should have gone before the City Council for a special permit under state law.

"[Doherty] converted the general video store to an adult video store without giving the city any notice and without the proper permits," a city representative told the local newspaper Daily Item.

But Doherty and his attorney argue that Video Warehouse should be regulated as a retail business and that there is no specific category in the city-zoning ordinance for adult entertainment establishments that so far exist.

In his filings against the city, Doherty is asking the court to let him reopen Video Warehouse and for the city to be prohibited from singling him out from other adult entertainment companies in the area. Doherty claims that he was the only store owner subject to the city's scrutiny, leaving other stores unbothered.

According to Daily Item, a hearing is scheduled this week in Lawrence Superior Court.

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