GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. - A Minnesota couple who currently run a daycare business once operated an adult site, but the state licensing board is fine with that. The issue at hand is if the couple may still adopt two small children after being challenged by the birth mother.
Ann and Joe Gale of Grand Rapids, Minn., once ran a website called Anne34dd.com, which is now no longer in operation. The site featured nude video feeds, erotic stories and sex-toy use, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Users paid $12.99 for live videos, but the site wasn't successful and the Gales filed for bankruptcy in 2003. The couple sought to change their lifestyle after Anne Gale was treated for depression and anxiety, according to Mahalo.com.
The site closed in 2004, though an archive of several Web pages can be found here.
In 2005, the couple began offering home-based daycare and foster care for children. During background checks, the state licensing agency in Itsaca County knew about the closed site, found no other criminal conduct in their pasts and approved the couple for the new business.
Itasca County Health and Human Service Director Lester Kachinske told the Star-Tribune that often, in smaller communities, "you become more comfortable knowing these people and knowing maybe even some changes that they have made in their lifestyles."
Jerry Kerber, director of licensing for Minnesota Human Services Department added, "As far as we can find, adults engaging in sexual activity in front of a camera and putting it up on the Web isn't actually illegal."
So, while Minnesota has no problem with the couple's porn past, the birth mother of the two children left with the Gales in 2007, who they now wish to officially adopt, wants them back. Rachel Voight had told the couple she was unable to care for her children when she dropped them off; a year later, she returned to claim them.
Both sides have fired charges at each other in Itasca County District Court, questioning lifestyles and who is fit to raise the children. Voight has attacked the Gales for their now long-closed porn site, while the Gales' attorney has cited Voight's conduct, which includes forging checks and admitting she smokes marijuana, as well as abandoning her children with the Gales two years ago.
Voight claims she had previously been unaware of the Gales' site and a reported swinger lifestyle in the 1990s, which resulted in a complaint filed in 2000 against an alleged stalker Anne Gale had met online.
Both children are less than 4 years old and have, according to the Gales, bonded with their family. Neither the Gales nor Voight was available for comment.