Last edited: February 14, 2005

Missouri Porn Theater Bust Targets Gays

The Advocate, April 2, 2002

Police in Jefferson County, Mo., arrested several patrons of an adult video store for having sex in the store, but only those people engaging in gay sex have been charged, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Six men have been charged with "deviate sexual intercourse with another person of the same sex," a rarely used misdemeanor. The men were arrested earlier this month in a raid on Award Video, a High Ridge, Mo., business that sells adult videos and shows pornographic movies. Those patrons who were arrested were having sex in the theater at the time of the raid. If convicted, the men could face fines and serve up to a year in the county jail. County prosecutor Bob Wilkins said he was hesitant to use the controversial statute, which he called "obscure," but he said that it was necessary to stamp out the "open and notorious activities" at Award Video. "It is not my intention to judge the conduct of consenting adults," Wilkins said. "This is not about throwing homosexuals in jail; this is about trying to prevent future conduct." Wilkins added that he would like to prosecute those who were engaging in heterosexual acts, but he said they weren’t violating state law. Under Missouri law, homosexual sex is illegal, though rarely prosecuted. Heterosexual sex can be a crime if it causes someone alarm or affront, which, Wilkins said, "did not likely happen at this establishment."

The charges appear to be under "566.090, Sexual misconduct, first degree, penalties." There is no Missouri crime titled "deviate sexual intercourse with another person of the same sex," but that is part of the definition in 566.090. See the text of the law in the statute section of the Missouri page.

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