WIDENER, Ark. - The owners of two Adult World stores in Widener have been charged with two felony counts of promoting obscene material, according to information filed Tuesday in the St. Francis County Circuit Clerk’s Office, the Forrest City Times Herald reported.
According to the report, the charges allege that Jim Philpot and Wayne Philpot, as the principals of R.J.J.W. Enterprises, Inc., and J&W Investments, Inc., have violated state law by selling obscene materials in the two stores located near the intersection of Hwy. 38 and Interstate 40. The materials were not specified.
Local law enforcement has targeted Adult World in the past, arresting several employees and a store manager, according to the Times Herald. The charges filed Tuesday are the first against the corporation and its owners, the newspaper said.
"We have made cases in the past against the clerks and the manager out there, and for the last year we’ve been investigating the gentlemen who own those businesses," prosecutor Fletcher Long told the Times Herald.
According to the report, Long compared the store owners to drug dealers, justifying his pursuit of the charges as a matter of law.
"I’ve heard the argument that these people are operating a business, and with the tough economic times we’re facing we should just leave them be, but my issue is with the law," he said. "If someone was operating a business which sold marijuana or methamphetamine and the times were tough, would they have a problem with it? What is being sold out there is just as illegal as marijuana and methamphetamine, and is no less against the law to promote, sell or possess."
Long intends to bring the case to trial, the Times Herald reported.
"We’ve made several arrests out there, and there have been several large fines which have been paid, and the message still hasn’t gotten across," he said. "There is a legal way to operate an adult business in Arkansas, but the material that is being sold out there doesn’t qualify and is considered obscene. We will prosecute this."
The store owners had not yet been arrested as of this morning, the newspaper said. Adult World reps have declined comment when contacted by members of the press.