Flathead porn patrol 

Flathead Advocates for Decency (FAFD), an anti-porn group formed last November in Flathead County, expects to complete its initial “threat assessment” next week, says the group’s president, Gail Tyler, explaining that the group intends to push local businesses and law enforcement to excise obscene material from the valley.

So far, Tyler says there’s been one blip on FAFD’s radar—the Movie Gallery video stores in Kalispell and Evergreen. Both locations include “back rooms” where adult movies are available.

According to Kalispell City Attorney Charlie Harball, this isn’t the first time Movie Gallery has come under fire. In 2003, Harball says, Kalispell resident Don Nelson complained about Movie Gallery’s back rooms.

“He felt that the back room in and of itself was bad, and that any movies they had in there should not be there,” says Harball.

Harball eventually called Movie Gallery, and a year ago, he says, porn magnate Larry Flint’s longtime legal counsel, Paul Cambria, who also represents Movie Gallery, came out for a visit.

According to Harball, Cambria visited to ascertain the Flathead’s “community standards.” The 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that denies First Amendment protection to pornography dictates that explicit material must offend community standards to be considered obscene.

“We did a tour of the city of Kalispell. I pointed out to him all the churches we had, and the fact that you don’t see any signs out there for XXX, Adult Videos Sold Here…to try to impress upon him what our community standards are,” says Harball.

After the tour, Harball claims, Cambria promised to rid the local Movie Galleries of anything offensive to the community.

Repeated calls to Movie Gallery to inquire about Cambria’s visit and FAFD’s complaints received no response.

With Movie Gallery once again attracting the attention of anti-porn crusaders, Harball’s worried. He’d prefer to avoid a test case that would challenge the Flathead County’s community standards by shining a light on deviant conduct.

“We have a nice community here,” he says. “But you know, sometimes you don’t want to know what the underbelly of it is…Pushing this has a tendency to bring that out.”
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