Many posters here on the Beat and elsewhere have wondered if it is really in the interests of the community of Rome. GA to spend money to prosecute Gordon Lee for two years. Couldn’t that money be used to prosecute drug pushers at the schoolyard or something else that’s more of a direct threat to our nation’s children than a bookseller who made a simple one-time dumb mistake?

It seems gadfly at large George Anderson feels the same way. Anderson, who is another bookseller in Rome, has filed an open records request with the county to find out the cost of prosecuting Lee, as well as a separate case involving the owner of an adult bookstore.

It’s not a first for Anderson, who has become something of a local legend.

What Anderson does is file ethics complaints against government officials. Not one or two complaints, or even a dozen, but 125 last year alone. Since 1997, he’s filed more than 200.

The second-place filer, Cobb Countian Patricia Fuller, wheezes in with a paltry 56. In just one year, the State Ethics Commission’s six-person staff saw the number of complaints it handles triple, from 65 in 1999 to 215 a year later.

Teddy Lee, executive director of the commission, attributes the upward trend almost entirely to Anderson. “He has increased our workload tremendously,” Lee acknowledges.

We know one thing, when Anderson finds out, we’d like to know, too.


  1. “Couldn’t that money be used to prosecute drug pushers at the schoolyard or something else that’s more of a direct threat to our nation’s children than a bookseller who made a simple one-time dumb mistake?”

    Sure, just as the money that’s been donated to the CBLDF to support Lee could have been better spent on a charity where some tangible benefit results.

    What a waste on both sides.

  2. George Anderson is awesome, and so was his old bookstore, The Book Lover’s Den. Man, I miss that place.

    Defending a shop owner from a ridiculous charge over a vague law and drawn out trial with a weak case=tangible benefit.

  3. “Making sure children aren’t ambushed by perverted drek = tangible benefit. ”

    Ambush, huh?

    Gordon Lee: “okay, here’s how it’s gonna go, Igor. You’ve got the goodie bag with the perverted comic, right? Gooood. Okay, so we’re waiting for the youngest, most innocent child of the evening and then —hehehe, oh this is so great, Igor…then we slip ‘im that bag! Just wait’ll he gets it home and starts to read it. Then he’ll show it to his folks and BOY, won’t THEY be surprised! Hehehe…Oh, this is gonna be great for business when it hits the papers!”


    Go, George Anderson.

  4. The comic in question featured a selection by Nick Bertolucci, not a pervert, but a serious comics creator. He depicted Picasso doing what Picasso is known to have done – to walk around his home and studio with no clothes on. No sexual overtones AT ALL, therefore, no perversion, just a depiction, very matter-of-factly shown, of how the man lived. The comic was apparently given to the child by mistake, therefore no ambush, because that means there was intent to harm. The parents deemed the comic to be pornographic with no cause; the DA deemed the comic to be pornographic with no cause. The parents refused to accept a sincere apology by Lee, which is where the whole damned situation should have ended. They CHOSE to be offended and to pursue a criminal case against Lee. One has to wonder at their motivation, and that of the Rome, GA DA’s office. I am a conservative Christian, a pastor’s wife, as well as a comics lover. I have read Salon by Bertolucci and it is NOT porn by any stretch of a reasonable imagination. (I do stress reasonable, I don’t consider the parents in this case to be reasonable at all.)

    I just have to wonder if everyone involved in trying to take Lee down are thinking as one of my former pastors did – “Comics are the work of the devil!” Yep, he preached that from the pulpit. My husband was attending Seminary at the time. I told him that we were never going to invite that pastor to our house, because our front living room had bookshelves loaded with thousands of my graphic novels.

  5. As for a better use of tax money……clearly you haven’t been to Rome recently. They got a new minor league stadium, so they’re pretty much set.

  6. There is a concept in law called _mens rea_, which means, “guilty mind.” In criminal law, an act cannot be a crime unless the person acting intended to do wrong, or intended to do what he did.

    Based on Lee’s description of what happened — an adult comic book was inadvertently added to a pile of books handed out to children — there was no _mens rea_ here. The worst that can be said is that he was negligent, which is a civil-law matter, not a criminal one.

    CBLDF is apparently fighting this case, in large part, because it believes the Georgia law threatens the right of adults to have access to adult material. The case itself is weak because of the _mens rea_ issue, which may be why the prosecutor attempted to bring up Lee’s previous brush with the law.

    And besides all that, the spending of tax money by the prosecution on this questionable case is hardly comparable to the spending of donated funds by CBLDF. Rome taxpayers have no choice but to send their dollars to Patterson. If they refuse, it’s “Hulk Smash” time. No one is forced to donate to CBLDF.

  7. Nothing much anyone can add to what’s been said here. The case is what’s colloquially known as “a crock of shit” and residents of Rome GA should also be taking this up with the state’s Ethics Complaints Commission.

    Aside to Kat Kan. The world could do with more conservative Christians like you.

  8. Pete Bangs: “Aside to Kat Kan. The world could do with more conservative Christians like you. ”

    What he said. Very refreshing.
    But in my experience, it’s not as anomalous as many wish to believe.