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Doctor John's owner pleads no contest in obscenity trial

The operator of Doctor John's adult novelty store has pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of distribution of obscene material.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The operator of Doctor John's adult novelty store has pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of distribution of obscene material.

Scotts Bluff County Judge Glenn Camerer found John Haltom, 37, of Lincoln, guilty Thursday to distributing obscene material.

Haltom was accused of selling videos showing people involved in sexual acts. Police detectives purchased the videos at Doctor John's in Scottsbluff in July 2003 and an arrest warrant was issued for Haltom in October, when charges were filed.

In February, Haltom tried unsuccessfully to have the charges dismissed on grounds that he did not commit the criminal act because he was serving a sentence in a Douglas County jail. He was jailed there after being convicted on similar charges for selling the same video at an Omaha store.

Haltom was fined $1,000, plus court costs in Thursday's plea hearing. He could have received a sentence of one year in jail, but Sterling Huff, who represented him, said Haltom agreed to plead to the count in exchange for receiving only a fine.

Deputy County Attorney Doug Warner said a plea allows the case to be resolved quickly.

Haltom, who owns 10 adult novelty stores in five states, was sentenced to 30 days in jail in Salt Lake City in January for selling an obscene video to a minor, who was a police decoy. Haltom's attorney said he would appeal the conviction.

Haltom also has filed a lawsuit against Sioux City, Iowa, claiming that city's zoning regulations were designed to keep one of his stores from opening there.

Haltom has stores in Midvale and Roy, Utah; four in Nebraska; two in Missouri; and one each in Iowa and Colorado.