Royal Farm halts sales of adult magazines in Harford Parents and ministers complained to chain

October 22, 1995|By Glenn Small | Glenn Small,SUN STAFF

The Baltimore-based Royal Farm Stores chain has removed all adult and pornographic magazines from its two Harford County stores after parents, ministers and public officials complained.

"It's definitely a victory for the family and our children," said Councilman Mitchell Shank, who led the effort against Royal Farm Stores.

Mr. Shank and others became concerned after they witnessed children in elementary school looking at the adult magazines in Royal Farm's Havre de Grace and Fountain Green Road stores.

Mr. Shank said he recently saw five boys and one girl looking at the magazines at the Havre de Grace store, which is a block from Havre de Grace Elementary School.

The magazines are wrapped in clear plastic so children cannot page through them, but they could see the covers, some of which had photos of nude women, said Mr. Shank.

Ralph C. Kemp, the president of Cloverland Farms Dairy, which owns the Royal Farm chain, said when he became aware of the community's concern, he decided to remove all of the adult magazines.

He said he thought of ordering the magazines to be put on racks behind the store's sales counter, as other convenience stores do, but there is not enough space at his two Harford stores to put them there.

"We tried to make everybody happy, and we just took them out," Mr. Kemp said.

Benedict Schwartz, the father of five children, said he visited the Havre de Grace Royal Farm store. "I was flabbergasted, because right by the door they had more pornographic magazines than you would expect to find in an adult book store," said Mr. Schwartz. "I counted 21 titles, not counting Playboy and magazines like that."

Mr. Schwartz was among 18 other residents who expressed concern at Tuesday's Harford County Council meeting.

He called much of what he saw "just totally raunchy stuff."

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