PRUDERY IN FLORIDA

By: Bobby Lilly (from CAL-ACT NEWSLETTER)


According to a story in the Oakland Tribune, a Tampa, Fla. couple, Alfred Stephens and Janet Paddock were arrested July 16, 1991 after police saw a video of the couple having sex in the bathroom of his condominium. After spending a night in jail and being charged with a lewd and lascivious act in the presence of a child under 12, they were released from jail the next morning on $15,000 bond each. The tape had been made by a neighbor through the blinds while other neighbors talked about calling the police after children in a nearby pool had reported seeing the pair.

It is unbelievable to me that this couple was charged for doing things normal consenting adults do in the privacy of their own home day and night. Why isn't the puritanical neighbor facing charges for such an invasion of privacy instead of being treated like a hero? Why couldn't some "neighbor" have knocked on that same bathroom window and let the couple know they were exposed?

This kind of prudery is endemic in Florida. Just think of the 2 Live Crew trials in Broward County last year or the banning of thong bikinis from the beach or the video store owners who have had to fight obscenity charges across the state. Pee-Wee Herman's recent bust for masturbation is just another example. A Rob Morse column in a recent Sunday Examiner even tells of a teen-age male who hated some rock group (sorry lost the column so I can't remember what group it was) enough to put a bumper sticker on his car stating that the group "sucked". According to Rob's column he was arrested and charged with displaying an obscene bumpersticker.

FROM: CAL-ACT NEWSLETTER


South Florida Activists gather outside the Broward County Courthouse to let Sheriff Nick Navarro know in no uncertain terms what they think of his recent raids on two local gay bars. Activists contend the raids were heavy-handed and in violation of club patron's Fourth Amendment rights. Sheriff Nick, who led the attacks against Rap group 2 Live Crew last year is also in hot water for blowing $103,750 in taxpayers money on that case. Sheriff Nick is also under the close eye of investigators for everything from corruption, to fixing charges and meddling in arrests of friends, to granting inflated and improper contracts to longtime political pals. Who says crime doesn't pay?

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