Arkansas DJs plead guilty in gay porn case

BY admin

August 18 2005 11:00 PM ET

Two former Little
Rock, Ark., radio station employees have been
sentenced to community service and $250 in fines after
pleading guilty to charges that they distributed
a gay porn video to a minor during a gay pride parade
in Conway last year.
Phillip Beard and Christine Brown originally
were charged with felony distribution of obscene film
under Arkansas's obscenity statute. But after jurors
were seated and the prosecution was a couple of hours into
the case, the trial was interrupted. Both sides went into
the judge's chambers, where the judge heard the pleas.
Beard pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of
distributing pornography to a minor; Brown pleaded
guilty to a misdemeanor criminal attempt charge. Each
was sentenced to 24 hours of community service and fined
$500 with $250 suspended. Their court costs also were waived.
Beard said his intent was never malicious and
that the case was a misunderstanding. "I'm glad to get
this past me. Now I can move on," he said. Brown
characterized their behavior at the parade as "a joke"
and said, "There was never a case to begin with."
The two were accused of handing out obscene
material during the June 2004 gay pride parade in
Conway. A boy, then 16, said Beard gave him the video
while dressed in a skimpy black swimsuit. Jurors watched
television news coverage of the parade, showing Beard
waving a DVD and saying, "Gay porn. Gay porn."
Before testimony began, Prosecutor H.G. Foster
said the case was important "as a societal statement.
There are very few who would disagree that when it
comes to distribution of explicit materials, generally
as a society, we think that's unacceptable."
Arkansas has a separate charge for distribution
of explicit material to minors, but Foster said it was
more appropriate to charge the pair under the state's
general obscenity statute. Penalties for both felonies are
the same—fines of up to $2,000 and a maximum of five
years in prison. Several potential jurors said
they had qualms about being asked to watch part
of the tape, and the judge said he would help jurors decide
what was deemed obscene.
Jurors told lawyers and circuit judge Charles
Clawson that they might have trouble setting aside
their personal views of what is obscene. Clawson said
he would instruct the panel on what constitutes obscenity.
Foster indicated that jurors might not have to
watch the tape to ascertain what is on it, telling
jurors he hoped they wouldn't be put in a position
where they would have to watch the DVD. He said that perhaps
the cover of the video would be enough to warrant a
conviction. The prosecution testimony Wednesday never
got to the video before the trial was interrupted.
The radio station for which Beard and Brown
worked at the time terminated the pair after
their stunt. The parade also drew a protester who
dumped cow manure along the parade route. (AP)

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