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Friday, July 19, 2024 | Back issues
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When Is A Sex Shop Not A Sex Shop?

ST. LOUIS - Is it or isn't it a sex shop? The Johnny Vegas Boutique denies it, and says the City of Crestwood is violating its First Amendment rights by classifying it as one and denying it a permit.

The Johnny Vegas Boutique Store sells adults books, videos, magazines and DVDs and items that are not classified as adults-only, including lingerie, swimwear, other clothing, shoes, oils, candles, incense, lotions and other novelty items, the suit states.

Crestwood law states that an adult media store has to meet three criteria: 25% or more of the gross public floor space is devoted to adult media; 25% or more of the stock in trade consists of adult media; and it advertises or holds itself out as a business that sells sexually-oriented material.

Crestwood law classifies a sex shop as a store that has more than 10% of its stock in-trade in sexually oriented toys, novelties and leather goods marketed or presented in a context to suggest their use for sadomasochistic purposes; more than 10% of the gross public floor area is devoted to display of adult toys and novelties presented to be used for sadomasochistic purposes; and it holds itself out as a sex business other than an adult motion picture theater or adult cabaret.

Such businesses cannot be within 50 feet of a school, day care center, church, hospital, park, regional mall or residence, the law states.

Johnny Vegas Inc. claims its amount of stock in trade sold, or stocked for sale, will be less than that required under Crestwood law to designate it as an adult business or a sex shop and that it will be in a commercially zoned area and will comply with all ordinances.

JVI claims Crestwood officials' refusal to grant it permission to open its business is arbitrary and unconstitutional. JVI has stores in Nebraska, Missouri and Illinois and is represented by Brian Millikan. Crestwood is 15 miles southwest of St. Louis.

See complaint.

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