Petition aims to ban adult store in Abilene

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ABILENE, Kan -- It's home to President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and it's the first "cow town" of the west, but one man said Abilene is getting a bad reputation.

"There are billboards all up and down I-70 advertising this destination as a pornography destination," said Abilene resident Phillip Cosby. "We don't want that."

For the past 10 years, Cosby has fought to shut down The Lion's Den, an adult superstore at 2349 Fair Rd. It's located right off of exit 272 on Interstate 70.

Thursday afternoon, he filed a petition with 400 signatures at the Dickinson County Courthouse. He's asking a grand jury to decide if the store promotes obscenity -- and hopes that will lead to banning it.

"These are not engines of economic prosperity," he said. "They're flesh peddlers, and all the things detrimental that's associated with that happens to the community."

Cosby is the director of the American Family Association of Kansas and Missouri. It helps push for education and legislation on issues like pornography and sex crimes. He says it's helped close down one sex stores like The Lion's Den.

Throughout the years, Cosby's campaign includes protests and large billboards, like one that reads "Jesus heals and restores. Pornography destroys." The billboard is about 100 feet from the store billboard.

"Pornography is dangerous," Cosby said. "It's as powerful as crack cocaine. One click, that curiosity of children and they find themselves entrapped and they can't get away."

A manager of The Lions Den declined to comment on the story, but said she is aware of the petition, which is quite similar to one filed by Cosby 10 years ago. The store transformed from a convenient store to an adult superstore in 2003.

The Dickinson County clerk's office said Cosby's petition, at the time, failed to pass because they could not validate all the signatures required. Cosby expects things will be different this time around. The clerk's office will verify the signatures within the next 60 days. After that, the county can summon a grand jury.

"It was not difficult getting the number of signatures, and I could have gotten a lot more, as people want this resolved because it is not a part of the community standard of Abilene and Dickinson County," he said. "This is unfinished business, and we want to finish it."


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