Starship obscenity hearing set for Aug. 5
by SARAH FAY CAMPBELL
The hearing on Starships’ alleged violation of Coweta County’s obscenity ordinance has been scheduled for Aug. 5 in Coweta Magistrate Court.
The hearing was originally scheduled for June 17 but was postponed because Starship attorney Allen Begner was having surgery.
The store, which sells “gifts and novelties for couples” was issued the citation on May 17 for violating the prohibition on the sale of sexual toys.
According to Coweta County officials, the Code Enforcement Department investigated and issued the citation after the county received several citizen complaints.
The hearing will be held before Chief Magistrate Judge James Stripling.
Stripling can rule from the bench at the end of the hearing or issue an order later. It depends on several factors in the case, according to court officials.
Under Coweta County’s obscenity ordinance, it is unlawful “for any person to knowingly distribute, possess with intent to distribute, or offer or agree to distribute any obscene material or any device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs” for any thing of monetary value.
Begner said in May that Starship would be pleading not guilty to the ordinance violation.
Under the ordinance, it is an “affirmative defense” if the sale, etc. is done for a “bona fide medical, scientific, educational, legislative, judicial, or law enforcement purpose,” he said.
Additionally, the criminal provisions don’t apply to “bona fide public libraries, or public school or college or university libraries, or their employees or agents acting on behalf of the legitimate educational purposes of such public libraries, or public school or college or university libraries.”
The store only carries the items for those authorized purposes, according to Begner. There are signs in the store stating that they are only to be sold or bought for medical, educational or scientific uses.
Sexual devices are recommended by the FDA for women who suffer from urinary incontinence and similar problems, according Begner. They are recommended by marriage counselors for medical use for couples who have problems with inorgasmia, and some sexual devices can even help men with spinal cord injuries father children, Begner said.
Begner said in late May that he hopes the judge “will find that we haven’t violated the ordinance. Because we tried not to.”