For Sex Shops, It’s Mostly Normal Business
KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) _ An anti-pornography ordinance similar to a state law that was struck down in 1980 took effect Tuesday, but most Kenosha County sex shops operated as usual and the sheriff said he didn’t ″see any emergency to run out and make arrests.″
A group called Citizens Against Pornography won a round in its crusade against obscenity when the county board last week passed an ordinance banning the sale of pornographic material.
The state Supreme Court struck down Wisconsin’s anti-pornography law in 1980 as too broad.
The Kenosha ordinance calls for fines of $500 to $1,000 for a first offense and $1,000 to $10,000 for repeated offenses within a year.
The Shoppe of Temptation, an adult bookstore near Interstate 94 was closed Tuesday. Newspapers were taped across the window in the front door and a hand- lettered sign read: ″Closed for inventory.″
″I don’t see any emergency to run out and make arrests,″ said Sheriff Fred Ekornaas, adding he had not received any formal complaints.
″I had our officers deliver a copy of the ordinance to each one of those places last week, so they couldn’t claim they didn’t know anything about it,″ he said.
Three of the shops are along I-94 a few miles north of the Illinois border. There are two similar stores in the southeastern part of the county.
At the Crossroads bookstore, a clerk who identified himself only as Ralph, sat behind a counter filled with sex gadgets. Magazines showing explicit sex acts on the covers lined one wall. Customers examined records, tapes and greeting cards.
Ralph said he had worked at the store since 1981 and was concerned the shop might close. He said such stores provided a safe outlet for sexual drives.
District Attorney Robert Zapf suggested Monday that law enforcement authorities resist the temptation to make arrests until the shops have time ″to clean up their act.″ He said it was more important for officers to investigate rapes, robberies and murders.
However, County Executive Gilbert Dosemagen said he wanted quick action to enforce the ordinance.
″We want to get it tested right away. We want the open and blatant advertisements and displays taken down,″ Dosemagen said.
The ordinance, signed Monday by Dosemagen, was passed unanimously by the county board.
The measure bans the sale of obscene material, which it defines as something that ″the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find appeals to prurient interests; describes or shows sexual conduct in a patently offensive way, and lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value as measured by objective standards if taken as a whole.″
The ordinance says ″obscene material″ may apply to a writing, picture, sound recording or film or a ″live exhibition before an audience.″
Deputies will be asked to buy items and determine whether they violate the ordinance before issuing a citation to the person who sold it.