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Judge Upholds Sexually Oriented Business Ordinance

Judge Upholds Sexually Oriented Business Ordinance

Posted - Sep. 13, 2004 at 7:43 a.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A federal judge has ruled that a Roy ordinance covering sexually oriented businesses does not unconstitutionally inhibit the sale of marital aids and adult toys.

U.S. District Judge Paul Cassell described the ordinance as "a rather innocuous scheme" designed to combat crime and health problems that sometimes stem from the sale of explicit materials.

He rejected the argument by the owner of Dr. John's Boutique that limiting operating hours and requiring store clerks to be licensed are forms of censorship.

"Indeed, Doctor John's itself is free to obtain a sexually oriented business license and sell as much adult material as it chooses in the very location it now occupies," Cassell wrote in a 40-page decision made public last week.

He did not rule on whether Dr. John's was a sexually oriented business.

W. Andrew McCullough, the attorney for the boutique, had argued that the ordinance is too vague and fails to tell business owners how much adult inventory they can sell before being considered sexually oriented.

The city adopted the ordinance on May 1, 2001, a few months after Dr. John's opened in Roy and began selling lingerie, swimwear, stuffed animals, vibrators, sex toys, videotapes and magazines.

In additional to requiring clerks to get employee licenses, it limits operating hours to 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., requires lighting outside the building, bans loitering and sets license fees.

A city official informed Dr. John's in late 2002 that the boutique fell under the ordinance. However, owner John Haltom applied for a general business license and filed suit claiming the ordinance was unconstitutional,

The city asked Cassell to declare that Dr. John's is a sexually oriented business. The judge, however, said the dispute over classification should go through the state court system.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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