Monday, February 28, 2011

Anti-gay Southern Decadence preacher arrested on obscenity charges

Posted By on Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 4:06 PM

Rev. Grant Storms
  • JPSO
  • Rev. Grant Storms
The Rev. Grant Storms, who made headlines in 2003 when he attempted to shut down the annual Southern Decadence festival in the French Quarter, was arrested in Jefferson Parish on obscenity charges Feb. 25.

Storms, who famously denounced the largely gay Labor Day celebration as "perversion," was arrested for allegedly masturbating near a Lafreniere Park playspot where children were present. According to an arrest report, Storms told the attending officer he wasn't masturbating, but had simply opted to urinate in a bottle in his van rather than find a park restroom.

In 2003, Storms and his followers marched on the Southern Decadence festival with bullhorns, and told ABC News' Primetime Live he wanted Southern Decadence shut down "utterly and totally. We want them out of town." At the time, he told The Times-Picayune, "Having oral sex in the middle of the street or masturbating is illegal and immoral," and worried that NOPD officers patrolling the festival might work "some kind of back-room deal to have an orgy in the street."

The following year, a group of French Quarter business owners led by the Bourbon Street Alliance successfully obtained a restraining order against Storms and his protestors, and the City Council voted to bar the use of bullhorns during Decadence.

Storms disappeared from the public eye shortly thereafter, but a lawsuit he had filed against a Wisconsin group backfired on the pastor in 2006 when a judge found his suit lacked merit and ordered him to pay $87,000 to the group he was suing.

Storms was released from the Gretna jail Feb. 27 due to overcrowding. According to Louisiana law, "whoever commits the crime of obscenity shall be fined not less than one thousand dollars nor more than two thousand five hundred dollars, or imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not less than six months nor more than three years, or both."

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