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Law Bans Sexually Explicit Material From Military Stores

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 14, 1998 – Military retail services will no longer sell sexually explicit magazines, videotapes and audio tapes.

In June, the Supreme Court upheld the 1996 Military Honor and Decency Act by refusing to review an appeal of a lower court ruling. The law requires DoD to remove all sexually explicit materials sold or rented by the exchange services, commissaries and U.S. Navy ships' stores.

On July 1, Frank Rush, acting assistant secretary of defense for force management, signed DoD Instruction 4105.70, "Sale or Rental of Sexually Explicit Material on DoD Property." The instruction defines sexually explicit material as "material, the dominant theme of which is the depiction or description of nudity, including sexual or excretory activities or organs in a lascivious way."

Under the instruction, the eight-member Resale Activities Board of Review met Aug. 13 for the first time. Steve Sellman, director of DoD accession policy, chairs the board. The other members are all civilian representatives from the military services and the military exchange commands.

Army Lt. Col. Tom Begines, a Pentagon spokesman, said board members asked the exchanges to provide materials for review that might be affected by the new law. The resulting review list includes more than 100 publications. The board will announce findings later this year.

"Once the board determines that a particular item is sexually explicit, it will be removed and not offered for sale or rent," Begines said. "If the board determines that several issues of the same periodical are sexually explicit, the publication will not be sold in DoD retail activities." Video and audio tapes the board determines to be sexually explicit will be permanently removed from DoD retail stores, he said.

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