Police Raise Issue of Obscenity Over Drawing on 'Identity' Cover
Court Action 'Likely'
The latest issue of Identity Poetry may have run afoul of the city's censorship laws banning "publishing obscene and indecent pictures," according to Lieutenant Detective Frederick Marckini of the Cambridge police.
Marckini said yesterday afternoon that he believed there already is a police order to remove the magazine from newstands. "It is very likely that court action will occur" following the investigation of Identity now under way, he declared. Several other magazines are also being examined, he added.
James Manchester Robinson '61, editor of Identity, claims that police have forced the removal of posters advertising this year's first issue. According to Robinson, an MDC policeman, Francis Cleary, forced him and Jonathan Lyman Rigg '61 to cease distributing the posters last Saturday and to remove those already posted, charging that Michael Conde's drawings were "pornographic."
Origin of Complaints Disputed
Origin of the police investigation is somewhat of a mystery. Marckini reported that the police have received "a number of complaints--some by letter and some by telephone." He specifically mentioned the Watch and Ward Society as a group interested in and aiding the investigation with a view towards possible presentation to the District Attorney. Dwight W. Strong, however, stated categorically that the organization, which he formally headed, has had nothing to do with the matter and is now defunct. Furthermore, Daniel J. Brennan, chief of the Cambridge police, said that as far as he knew there have been no complaints, nor any police action against Identity.
Language May Be Obscene
While the primary objection by police seems to be that Conde's cover is pornographic, Marckini said he is "checking into some of the language in it." Both he and Cleary emphasized that they regarded it as particularly obscene due to its possible effect on youths.
Despite the likelihood of police action, Robinson intends to continue distribution of his covers to colleges in the Boston area. The issue is still available on the news stands around Harvard Square.