Controversial OP Statue Reaches Another Milestone: Grand Jury
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — The conflict between art and community sensitivities reaches another milestone later this week. A grand jury will decide if a semi-nude statue in the city’s arboretum is obscene.
Efforts to remove the controversial statute have gone from unsuccessfully asking the city council to take it down, to a grand jury that will decide if a crime has been committed.
The piece is called “Accept or Reject.” The bronze statue depicts a woman taking a picture of herself, partially nude.
The American Family Association, or AFA, said it violates community standards for obscenity and encourages “sexting”.
“For sure it is not something that you want a child to run upon, and wonder, at the celebration of something that if they were to emulate it would be an illegal act,” Phillip Cosby said.
They’ve taken about 5,000 signatures to empanel a grand jury to look at the case. That grand jury will meet for the first time on Friday. The AFA is hoping the jury will side with them.
“What I think will probably happen, I hope would happen, is that common sense will prevail at that point rather than going through a trial,” Cosby said.
Johnson County District Attorney Stephen Howe said his office will ultimately decide whether to file charges, if the grand jury decides a crime has been committed. But for now, he says his office is just available to assist the jury.
“Really what’s going to happen is, Overland Park is going to present some evidence. AFA will also present some witnesses and evidence, and our job is to help get that job presented to the grand jury and then ultimately it’s their job to make that decision,” Howe said.
Howe said the grand jury can act for three months, and that time can be extended if a court approves it.
The AFA also accuses the DA’s office of tampering with witnesses by talking to them before the grand jury gets together. But Howe said they have the right to do that, so they don’t waste the grand jury’s time during the process.
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