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Under-Fire Movie Gallery Outlet Pulls Porn

May resolve public nuisance charges against store

Under-Fire Movie Gallery Outlet Pulls Porn
KILMARNOCK, Va. - The Movie Gallery location indicted last November by a Lancaster County grand jury on public nuisance charges has removed the offending adult videos from its shelves that brought on the charge, according to local paper The Free Lance-Star.

The back room that housed the videos is now stocked with mainstream new releases. A clerk at the store told The Free Lance-Star Monday that the adult titles were removed "a while ago."

"Movie Gallery is sensitive to the standards of this community, and has decided to remove adult content from [the] store," said company spokesperson Andrew B. Siegel. "Movie Gallery does not believe that its adult content videos violate any law. Family entertainment provides more that 99 percent of Movie Gallery's revenue."

Fabiola Gergerich, the local resident who headed up the campaign to indict the store beginning in August, countered in an e-mail, "The fact of the matter is that Movie Gallery was renting obscene material. The distribution of obscenity is illegal in Virginia and under U.S. laws. The community has a say about what is and what isn't obscene. Ultimately, what is going to be allowed in a community is up to the citizens."

According to Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney J.W. Harmon, the grand jury assembled in November found the videos in the store's back room and the packaging of some of those in its main shopping area to be "obscene." No date has been set for a trial on those allegations, but Commonwealth's Attorney C. Jeffers Schmidt Jr. said Monday that, "Movie Gallery's response may be enough to conclude the matter."

Further noted Gergerich, "Obscenity laws are not aimed at private morals, rather, public morals. Lawmakers and public officials are empowered by the community to safeguard public morals by defending the community's welfare. And that's precisely what Mr. Schmidt, Mr. Harman and the grand jury did."

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