Crow is lawyer for nude Web site
By KATHERINE GAZELLA
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 27, 2001
TARPON SPRINGS -- An X-rated Web site that shows nude women engaging in sexual acts in a waterfront home in Tarpon Springs was established with the help of state Rep. Larry Crow.
Crow, a Palm Harbor Republican, says he finds ucanwatch.com to be morally objectionable but has no problem reconciling his roles as an elected official and private attorney.
"I'm just the hired gun," he said Friday.
Crow, whose law practice is in Tarpon Springs, prepared the state incorporation papers for the company when it was created last April and is listed in state records as the company's registered agent. He said he may be involved in any zoning fights between the company and the city of Tarpon Springs.
But Crow, 41, said he does not have a financial stake in the company, nor is he involved in or knowledgeable about its day-to-day operations. Crow said an associate in his firm, Jerry Theophilopoulos, is the main attorney working with ucanwatch.com.
The Web site, which operates out of a 7,000-square-foot home overlooking Kreamer Bayou, allows subscribers to watch 12 women as they shower, sunbathe, play pool and engage in what are advertised as "hardcore" sexual activities.
"That sort of genre is not part of my platform," Crow said. "It's not something I want on my computers at home."
In his political life, Crow often refers in interviews and speeches to the importance of family. When asked last year about his absence from 23 of 30 legislative committee meetings, he said his wife had a herniated disk in her back and he needed to spend more time at home with his two sons.
"My family comes before my work every time," he said at the time. When his opponent in the November election criticized him for the absences, he replied, "My wife and I will pray for her."
Crow is in his fourth term in the Legislature. His district runs from Pinellas Park north to Tarpon Springs but does not include the location of the ucanwatch.com house.
Crow said he has represented Michael Schriver, 55, an automobile dealer who runs the Web site, on a variety of issues for 10 years.
"I'm just his lawyer," he said of Schriver. "I don't make moral decisions for my clients."
Other elected officials said they would have a problem being associated with an online voyeur site.
"We don't always agree with everything our clients do," said state Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor, who is also an attorney. "I wouldn't do it. It probably wouldn't sit right with me."
"I can only say what I would do, and I would not do that," Tarpon Springs Mayor Frank DiDonato said.
Another official said Crow's jobs as an attorney and legislator are two separate and distinct roles.
"We have a part-time Legislature in Florida, and the members of the Legislature have other jobs to sustain them and feed their families," said State Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Palm Harbor. "I'm not going to put myself in the role of passing judgment on other legislators and their clients."
Sue Humphreys, a Dunedin real estate property manager who ran against Crow last year, said she received a tip during the campaign about Crow's affiliation with an online voyeur site. With limited resources, she said she chose instead to focus on his attendance record.
"I think who you're associated with does have an influence on who you are," she said. "I don't know how you can draw that line. I think there is guilt by association."
Ucanwatch.com could face trouble with the city of Tarpon Springs.
City Commissioner Beverley Bilirakis said she first heard about the house from an anonymous call in August or September. She notified police, who are investigating, she said.
"We don't have room for it in our community," she said.
Tarpon Springs Police Capt. Ron Holt said the department is checking into the business "and the way it is operating." He would not elaborate.
Earlier this week, Schriver filed a complaint with Tarpon Springs police that a hacker broke into the Web site and stole customer information, including credit card data, on about 350 subscribers.
Some neighbors of the house, which is set back from the road and hidden by a fence and trees, said they didn't know what was going on there.
"They must have kept it pretty well-hidden," said Jason Fox, who lives a few houses away. "I didn't have any earthly idea."
The home, which Schriver rents, is in an area zoned residential/single family. City planning and zoning director Walter Fufidio said the activities in the house probably do not comply with zoning laws. He said he would talk to the city attorney before deciding what to do.
- Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report.
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