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Police Arrest 'Avatar' Peddler Caught Selling Paper to Minor


Conflict between Avatar salesmen and the City of Cambridge broke out once again yesterday when eight Cambridge policemen picked up Brian Kelly '66 for selling the 20th issue of the magazine to a teenager in Harvard Square.

Police charged the 24-year-old Kelly, who also writes for Avatar, with "selling obscene material to a minor."

According to the stipulations of a three-week-old "truce" between the magazine and Cambridge police, Avatar agreed not to sell any issues to minors. The police, in turn, pledged no more arrests unless they notified the magazine that the City Solicitor judged a particular issue "obscene."

Conscious Violation

After his arrest, Kelly said that he had consciously violated the policy of the magazine. "The kid seemed serious and intelligent," he said, "and I couldn't see any reason why he shouldn't be allowed to read the issue."

Kelly also said that this issue "has no obscenity in it all all, even by police standards." He said that the magazine "is growing, and we have other serious things to talk about."

A policeman in an unmarked car "accidentally witnessed the sale," said Kelly, and immediately arrested him. The officer, identified by Kelly as Patrolman Yetman, went to a nearby photo store, "The Crimson Camera," to call for a paddywagon.

The clerk in the store said that Officer Yetman "commanded me in the name of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to let him use the phone." But apparently sympathetic to the Avatar salesman, he refused. The policeman then went down the street to find a public telephone.

Kelly's arrest marks number fifty-seven in a long string of Avatar-connected arrests in the past few months. Seven of these have been Harvard students.

The only other Avatar-Cambridge police incident since the "truce" has been the February 14 arrest of John Shirley, also charged with "selling obscene material to minors."

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