Ex-Priest Opens Sex Shop

Associated Press
May 4, 1981

John Bauer is a former priest who believes in sexual liberation. He's also the owner of an adult book store.

Bauer says the store he's opening in the college town of Bozeman "will have everything. Magazine, books, films, video cassettes, marital aids, lingerie -- everything to make people's sex life better."

As a young, dynamic priest, he directed Helena Catholic Charities from 1966-70, but left the clergy to teach. Now he's 44 and an associate professor of social work at Montana State University.

Bauer, during a telephone interview Friday, said his views on sex "are probably different from those of the Holy See. But I've always been somewhat of a liberal."

The city of Bozeman has issued Bauer a bookstore license in the downtown area. Bauer plans to open his store at the end of next week and leave the university's faculty.

There's no city ordinance prohibiting adult book stores, but some local ministers are opposing the store.

Why an adult book store?

Bauer says there are several reasons. He's taught at the university for 11 years, and at one time directed the social work program, which had up to 150 students. Now federal funding for the program is being phased out.

"So I was thinking of a business," he said. "This fits into my belief in sexual liberation. It is also a profitable business."

Bauer, who has counseled a campus-oriented homosexual group, said that many professors "have private investments. Things like computer stocks. This is my investment."

Asked if pornography is harmful to people, Bauer replied, "I think it is a positive thing. It helps people with their sexual vibes. It is not a negative thing."

As a sociologist, Bauer believes that sexually explicit materials "enhances people's social funqtioning."

Bauer, who is single, said he has not worked as a priest since he left Helena Catholic Charities, which operated such projects as a home for unwed mothers.

Bauer said he nevertreceived official notification he is no longer a priest. "The formal process of removing me from the clerical state, I have never gone through that. From their point of view I suppose I am considered a priest forever. As far as I'm concerned I am no longer active with the church."

"I left the church to meet my goals in life," he said. "I am kind of a reformer. I felt the church was not moving at the same pace I was moving."


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