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In Kansas City, Cosby found an ally with deep pockets — Bill Dunn Sr., chairman emeritus of J.E. Dunn Construction. Dunn didn't return several calls to his office seeking comment, but a July 2006 article in The Kansas City Business Journal touted Dunn's 25-year campaign against pornography. Dunn told the paper that he sponsored three lunch meetings with Cosby to show off his strategy to a group of local pastors.
Dunn made headlines in 2005 for a 10-minute rant at the annual Mayors' Prayer Breakfast in which he decried the sharp downward trend of values in America and blamed activist judges, the American Civil Liberties Union, gay marriage and illegitimate births. Dunn's speech angered then-Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes; in response, she boycotted the next year's breakfast.
Cosby's Kansas City invasion kicked off in May at the Kansas City headquarters of the Salvation Army, where he showed off petitions. The petitions demanded that grand juries hear evidence against 32 businesses he accused of selling or renting materials depicting "actual ultimate sex acts, normal, perverted, violent or obscene, masturbation, anal sex, oral sex, excretory functions, sadomasochistic abuse, torture and lewd exhibition of the genitals."
Under Kansas law, a grand jury can be convened by any citizen who gathers signatures equal to slightly more than 2 percent of the total votes cast in a county's last gubernatorial election. Cosby claims that his petitions include 20,000 signatures.
Cosby claimed to have the support of 100 churches, including St. Patrick's Church in Kansas City, Kansas; Faith Covenant Church of Prayer in Blue Springs; and the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.
Sex is "God's idea," Cosby told The Leaven, the newspaper of the Kansas City Archdiocese. "It's a wonderful gift God has given us to be enjoyed within the covenant of marriage. When that gift is taken out of the context of marriage, it destroys families, children and society."
This year, Cosby collected thousands more signatures to convene grand juries in Johnson and Wyandotte counties. The results of Cosby's petition drives have been mixed.
Across the state line in Missouri, Cosby's followers have filed petitions in Cass, Clay, Jackson and Platte counties. But in Missouri, signed petitions alone are not enough to call a grand jury. That decision is left to a judge's discretion, and, so far, no Missouri businesses have been charged with obscenity.
Jackson County has yet to publicly make a move. Jackson County Prosecutor Jim Kanatzar met with a group of ministers in May when they delivered a petition. The only result thus far has been a letter penned by Kanatzar and sent to 20 Kansas City-area businesses explaining Missouri's obscenity law.
A grand jury in Clay County failed to return an indictment.
In Platte County, World's Liquor voluntarily stopped selling mainstream magazines such as Playboy, Penthouse and Hustler after receiving a call from the county prosecutor.
In Cass County, the prosecutor is leaving obscenity decisions to the Belton chief of police, according to one of Cosby's National Coalition updates posted on the Web.
Meanwhile, grand juries in Wyandotte and Johnson counties in Kansas met for the first time on July 16.
In Wyandotte County, a grand jury handed down obscenity indictments on August 29 against two Kansas City, Kansas, businesses: M&M Inc., a convenience store on State Avenue; and Smoke Easy Cigarette Outlet, a smoke shop in a rundown strip mall at 6000 Leavenworth Road.