CINCINNATI — Lawyers for the Contemporary Arts Center and its director pleaded innocent today to misdemeanor charges alleging that photographs in an exhibit of the late Robert Mapplethorpe are obscene.
Attorney H. Louis Sirkin entered the plea in Hamilton County Municipal Court on behalf of the center and Director Dennis Barrie.
The court's assignment commissioner referred the case for trial to Municipal Judge David Albanese and scheduled a pretrial hearing April 30 when a trial date may be set. The date must be set within 90 days.
A Hamilton County grand jury indicted the gallery and Barrie on April 7. Five of the 175 photos in the exhibit show homosexual acts, and two show children revealing their genitals.
Lawyers filed the pleas about two hours before a scheduled arraignment before Municipal Judge Dennis Helmick in the Hamilton County Justice Center, said Martin Pinales, an attorney in the firm handling the case.
The exhibit has been drawing large crowds--more than 23,000 during its first week--and is scheduled to continue through May 26 before moving to Boston.
Hamilton County Prosecutor Arthur Ney handed over prosecution to the city of Cincinnati last week, saying Ohio law prohibits him from prosecuting misdemeanors.