A proposed statue of the great Chuck Berry has caused ructions in his home town of St Louis, Missouri, because of criminal convictions from a very long time ago.
The eight-foot statue is designed to stand as a tribute to Berry’s enormous contribution to popular music, with its location being in a public square not far from the city’s famous Blueberry Hill venue, where, as Spinner reports, the 84-year-old Berry continues to perform.
However, a protest group has stood up in opposition to the statue, deeming Berry’s criminal past to disqualify him from receiving such an honour. According to Reuters, an 86-year-old former city officer called Elsie Glickert has said that she and her supporters will try and derail the project on the grounds that Berry “is a felon and not a friend of women.”
She requests that plans for the statue are postponed “until it can be reviewed. I’m dumbfounded how it got this far.”
Glickert points to a rather complicated conviction from 1962. Berry was found guilty and ordered to pay a $5000 fine and sentenced to three years in jail (he served a year and a half) for violating the Mann Act. The Mann Act forbids “transporting a woman across state lines for immoral behavior.” Berry was found guilty of doing exactly this with a 14-year-old Native American, who he was alleged to have sexual relations with. Berry also employed the girl at his night club; she was later arrested on charges of prostitution.
Other transgressions that have left Glickert and others railing against the statue include Berry’s conviction of armed robbery as a teen and his tax evasion from 1979.