News and Tribune

Clark County

May 16, 2009

Theatair X hit with new citations

There was confusion in Clarksville about who should enforce rules

Adult business Theatair X was issued four citations Thursday for violating a Clarksville town ordinance.

The ordinance limiting sexually oriented businesses was passed in 2005, but the adult bookstore had so far only been cited for one offense — staying open past 1 a.m.

Clarksville Building Commissioner Bob Polston said he cited Theatair X on Thursday for holes between the [peep show] booths, inadequate lighting, doors on the booths and not having a straight vision from the desk to the booths.

A reporter with The Evening News and The Tribune went along as two undercover Clarksville Police Department detectives investigated Theatair X on Wednesday night. Clarksville detectives have been there five times since December, according to Clarksville Police Chief Dwight Ingle. As in past investigations, police found no illegal activity Wednesday.

The hallways are lined with booths where customers can pay to watch pornographic films. There are holes in the walls between the booths that range in size from a nickel to a baseball or even larger.

While the holes are a clear violation of the Clarksville ordinance, they are not a violation of Indiana criminal law as long as both parties who use them are consenting. Each booth has a door with a lock. Once a person is inside that locked booth, any consensual sexual activity is legal under Indiana law.

There are also theaters inside the porn shop. Even consensual sexual activity that occurs inside the theaters is legal because the doors lock and patrons have to pay to go inside, the detectives said.

“If you go in that booth yourself, once you go in and close the door, we cannot charge them with anything,” Ingle said.

Ingle said police departments only enforce state laws. They have no authority to enforce local ordinances, such as peep holes or indecent activity going on behind a locked door.

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