July 21, 2011

JeffCo Libraries allow patron caught by mom and child using porn and masturbating to stay

Some parents don’t think porn belongs in library (Colorado)
9news by Will Ripley
July 21, 2011
Find original article here

9news by Will Ripley
Find original article here

JEFFERSON COUNTY – Pornography is not something you’d expect to find at the public library. But in Jefferson County, adults are allowed to watch X-rated content on library computers. TAKE POLL ON MOMS LIKE ME: SHOULD YOU BE ABLE TO WATCH PORNOGRAPHY ON LIBRARY COMPUTERS
Some parents are now questioning that policy. 9NEWS received two news tips in two weeks from different parents concerned about their children being inadvertently exposed to pornography.

Library officials insist they are only following the law.

In the adult section of Jeffco libraries, it’s OK to watch porn on computers as long as you use a privacy screen. 9NEWS spoke with a parent who says she and her 5-year-old son saw much more than they should have seen in a public place.

“There were pornographic videos. Two girls kissing, partially nude, on the screen,” Carolyn Berry said.

Berry says a teenager was viewing an X-rated movie on a Columbine Library computer, and appeared to be touching himself underneath his clothing.

“The patron was lying back in his chair, he had his hand down his pants, and was clearly masturbating,” Berry said.

Berry complained to the librarian and expected the teen to be thrown out. But 20 minutes later, she says he was still in the library.

“He was on the exact same computer,” Berry said. “He hadn’t been kicked out of the library. He hadn’t been kicked off the computers. He was still sitting there.”

Berry called the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. The 17-year-old got a ticket for trespassing and could face charges of indecent exposure. A sheriff’s spokesperson confirmed deputies have responded to other incidents involving people watching porn at Jeffco libraries.

“My first reaction is that we’re very sorry if a child in the library was exposed to material that they found objectionable,” said Rebecca Winning, associate director of communications and public engagement for the Jefferson County Public Library.

Winning says the library tries to protect kids by keeping the children’s section separate from the adult section.

“So kids could come to the library, go to the children’s area and get all their needs met, and never even walk by [the adult area],” Winning said.

Winning says the Jeffco library board has decided that a public library cannot control what adults watch.

“We follow the law,” Winning said. “If the law allows access to certain information that you or I might find objectionable, we allow patrons to access it.”

The policy on pornography varies with each library system. In April, library officials in New York City said pornography is protected by the First Amendment. Other local libraries, including Denver and Aurora, don’t allow porn. In Denver, anyone caught watching it is told to leave and could be banned for repeat offenses.

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