Is an eight-foot penis “art?” St. Petersburg gallery owner pleads no contest

From The St. Petersburg Times: (I’ve gotta say, now I want to see said penis art)

ST. PETERSBURG — William Schramm, who was arrested this summer after a raid at his erotic gallery, has applied to enter a pretrial intervention program rather than fight a charge of battery on a law enforcement officer.

Schramm changed his mind about fighting the charge because of health problems, his attorney, Luke Lirot, said Wednesday. “We had a long conversation, and quite honestly I felt it was more important for him to focus on his health rather than anything else, and he agreed.”

Police responded to Schramm’s 2501 Gallery on Central Avenue in July after someone complained about an eight-foot penis displayed near the entrance. Schramm said it was art and refused to move it. When police returned later that day, they discovered a naked male model in a swing.

They cited Schramm, 47, and the model, Joshua Culotta, 26, for violating a city ordinance that prohibits the public display of genitals at establishments where alcohol is being served. Both pleaded no contest last month and paid fines of $113 each.

But Schramm also faced a criminal charge of battery on a law enforcement officer because, police say, he grabbed an officer’s arm to prevent him from entering the gallery. Schramm had said he was merely trying to show the officer how to push the door open

The State Attorney’s Office now will review Schramm’s request and decide if he can enter the pretrial intervention program, which could allow him to perform community service in exchange for the charge being dropped.

Schramm, who has since closed his gallery, “still believes that his position was the correct one,” his attorney said. “But sometimes the realities of life can deter you from pursuing any loftier goals.”

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