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NYC Police Launch Mass Crackdown on Obscene Books

Apr. 5, 1963 - In a carefully coordinated mass crackdown, more than 100 New York City police raiders fanned out in Queens today and hit three firms accused of doing a $10 million yearly business in distributing paperback books that are “filth for filth’s sake.” A triumphant Police Commissioner Michael J. Murphy (center) supplied the description later as his men and Queens district attorneys’ sleuths prepared to book four men on obscenity charges. “This is the largest raid in the country,” Murphy declared. “We have hit several warehouses filled with this literature. In my 27 years in the department, I’ve never seen such obscenity.” The three firms allegedly were nationwide distributors, with sales outlets concentrated near schools and other areas where youngsters congregate. One of the Queens firms, police said, was a branch of a Chicago “pharmaceutical” company whose officers have been indicted on obscenity charges in Illinois. The books have such titles as “Twisted Sinner,” “Bed Bait,” “Red Hot and Ready,” and “High School Sex Club.” The books, which Murphy said sold for 75 cents to $1.10, bore lurid covers showing nude women, girls being tortured, and even men being tortured by women. Murphy said his office had received about 300 complaints in the past month from irate parents who had caught their children with such books. At a news conference, Queens D.A. Frank O’Connor (right) said: “We want to keep these books out of the hands of children. We do not want to move against the individual store owners unless we have to. We will give them time to survey their own stock and get rid of this trash. All newsdealers and candy store operators are now on notice to destroy their stock of obscene literature.”


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