Middlesex Jury Indicts Lampoon Corporation
Prosecuting Attorney Charges 'Obscenity,' Will Press Action
The Middlesex County Grand Jury, upon the request of District Attorney George A. Thompson, yesterday indicted the Harvard Lampoon Corporation for "selling and distributing obscene pamphlets."
Action will not be taken against any students directly since the magazine is incorporated under a Commonwealth of Massachusetts charter.
Thompson said he asked for the verdict because he thought the Lampoon's parody of mid-western college humor magazines, The Pontoon, was "quite raw" and "should be prosecuted." If found guilty, the corporation can be fined $100 to $1,000.
Joseph H. B. Edwards '40 and Joseph E. Deguglielmo '29, counsel for the magazine, informed its editors yesterday that one of them must appear in court Monday for arraingement. The Lampoon last night had not decided whom it would send.
Last Monday, District Attorney Thompson conferred with the 'Poon's lawyers and informed them that he planned to prosecute. Thompson at an initial court session a month ago had been given the option of taking the action against the magazine or dismissing the matter by District Court Judge Arthur P. Stone '93.
At the time, Stone denied issuance by police of a complaint against The Pontoon on a charge of "distributing obscene material through minors." However he branded the magazine "filthy, obscene, and licentious."
Judge Stone stated: "I do not intend to take action in this court, but I have ordered the police to have this copy before me turned over to District Attorney Thompson for whatever action he may take as to presenting it to the grand jury."
Frederick H. Gwynne '51, president of the Lampoon, said that the magazine has "no comment" to make in the indictment.
The Pontoon first came to police attention through a phone call on the morning of the Dartmouth game by a practical joker who claimed to be a Radcliffe girl's mother. Police then seized all copies from newsboys and newsstands and planned criminal action.