Web surfer's tip leads cops to sex offender

Anonymous Patron sent over This One From the Wednesday, June 30, 2004 Palm Beach Post on a sexual predator being held without bond on one charge of disorderly conduct and one charge of violating parole, after a patron called the police.

Kathy Boyes, community relations manager for the Palm Beach County Library System, said the librarians handled the incident properly. "They did not observe anything to lead them to believe there was improper behavior," Boyes said.

As for observing Carroll's computer use from a distance, Boyes said, "It is absolutely an issue of privacy. Our librarians do not observe what patrons are doing."

Libraries have long dealt with such problems. "There have always been dirty books," said the spokeswoman. In the past, though, there was a simpler solution: "We didn't buy the books," she said.
Update: 07/01 06:52 EST by B:Fixed URL, thanks bentley


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typically disingenuous library response

"They stood so far away I don't even know how they could see his monitor," Nugent said. "Then they said they didn't see anything that was improper material. They did absolutely nothing." But Nugent had noticed one more thing about the short, strawberry-blond computer user. He was wearing the type of ankle bracelet used by law enforcement. Nugent called law enforcement.

Library Filters and pain in the butt patrons....

Carroll was not looking at porn, he was not touching himself and the library has filters and he still gets arrested. I wish that government and other library patrons would stop paying attention to what people are reading or looking at on the computer.

(Yes I know that he was a sexual predator and he was doing a creepy thing but he was not in the children's area or breaking any laws)

Not porn?

"I noticed a gentleman in his mid-30s looking at pictures of little boys in their underwear" said Nugent, who was scanning want ads online. "He was looking at little boys, 10- and 12-year-olds, wearing tighty-whities and half-dressed in sports uniforms."

I don't know what Nugent meant by 'want ads' but for this guy it sounds like porn. If a person is on probation they should know enough to do absolutely nothing that would be considered suspicious.

Re:Not porn?

Nugent was looking at the want ads not Carroll (the guy that got arrested).

Without knowing a person's criminal past, we (as librarians) can not decide that "looking at boys in underwear and half-dressed in sports uniforms" is a bad thing to look at. I may agree that it is weird and convicted sexual predators should not be looking at it but we do not who is a sexual predator when they walk into the library.

The library did the right thing!

Re:typically disingenuous library response

Bravo! Excellent response! Glad you said what others fear to say....NO SURPRISE the LisNews moderator downrated it...no matter what librarians do or don't do they are always right. Aren't they?If something had happened to a child in or around the library...which IT WOULD HAVE since lookin is just a prelude to doin...the librarians would have been guilty of "doing absolutely nothing" to prevent it.Shame on them and on us when we don't condemn do nothing librarians, and when we fail to take action to protect our patrons from anyone who would harm them.

Re:Not porn?

doesn't the bracelet count for anything?

Re:Not porn?

...we(as librarians) can not decide that "looking at boys in underwear and half-dressed in sports uniforms" is a bad thing to look at.

Djsarge - I'm curious if your principle here of non-judgement and no action is relative or absolute. In other words, if you were to notice this same patron looking at the these same boys in underwear, though this time with a hooded 50 something man in full S&M regalia (whip too), would this have changed your response?

No flame intended here.

Re:Not porn?


Good question.. I do not know, I would be too busy laughing at the guy (of course in the back away from the public).

I try not to judge a person based on what they look at (or look like) in the library. I may personally feel like the person who is looking at that type of material as being a perv but unless he/she violating the rules, I will leave him/her alone.

Greg, wearing an ankle bracelet does not mean that he/she does not have the right to use the library, just like you and I. In fact, I would encourage it (Reading programs, job skills, learning to type etc...)

The great moderator conspiracy.

The great moderator conspiracy, as an AP you're part of the problem.

Re:Not porn?

Absolutely true but there is nothing wrong calling your friendly local neighborhood police officer and saying "We have a gentleman here with an ankle bracelet who has been looking at boys in BVDs online for about a half hour now. Could you please do a walk through?"

Re:Not porn?

Fair enough!

Re:Not porn?


Part of me thinks that a citizen has the right to report questionable behavior. If I am not mistaken, a person under state supervision has less rights under the law so he/she can be arrested almost at will. What worries me is the other patron who was minding someone else business. Why was he reading the other persons screen?

The other part of me questions our roles as librarians in this case. Our job is to provide information without judgement. I do not like romance novels, I think that they are waste of space and trees but my job as a librarian is to provide them for my community if they want them.

Boys in BVDs, tatoos and body piercings, sneakers ads, and dental dams and condoms are not subjects that interest me but I am quite willing to allow and direct patrons to those resources. I do not care if they are wearing ankle bracelets, S&M gear or they are nuns. If they want to learn more about it, fine.

Re:Not porn?

We have 17 inch monitors for our computers with no privacy screens, with a simple look around I can see what most people are doing, and being an internet user I can usually identitfy a lot of the specific sites they are going to.

"Boys in BVDs, tatoos and body piercings, sneakers ads, and dental dams and condoms are not subjects that interest me but I am quite willing to allow and direct patrons to those resources"

You'd really do this? Really? Forget the tattoos, body piercings, and stuff. Those are red herrings. If a patron asked you for sites showing boys in BVDs, you'd help them?

That Blows My Mind

Re:Not porn?


Yes, I would. I would not like it, I would think that he was a weirdo (and watch him) and I would keep him away from the children's room. I would also direct a neo-nazi to a racist web site (I am Black) if that is what he or she wanted.

There could be a perfectly legitimate reason for looking at a "boys in BVDs" site. He/she could be researching the link between child molestors and web sites like "Boys in BVDs". My job as a librarian does not include acting as the moral police.

Greg, that should not blow your mind because my attitude also protects your access to material that I may find offensive.

Re:Not porn?

I don't consider a question of offensivness, I consider it a question of legality. He's asking for child porn.

Re:Not porn?

This is where the problem lies. "Boys in BVDs" is not child porn. Otherwise all the underwear ads (for children) in the Sunday newspapers would be child porn as well. For the record, I would not allow assist in the access of child porn.

Adding to the discussion

Article of underwear ads/child porn

I chose a conservative point of view for this discussion

Re:Not porn?

If a really fat person wants a cookbook on chocolate cake I have an obligation to get it for them. Eating yourself to death is not a crime.

If anyone were to come in and ask for a book on juggling knives I'd help them find it. Stupidity is also not a crime.

If Mrs. Cleaver comes in looking for pictures of children in bathing suits because she's working with her watercolors and needs a subject I'll help. Half-Naked children in art is not a crime.

If a scuzzy guy with an ankle bracelet comes up to me and asks for websites with 'Boys in BVDs' I'm going to look at him real stern-like and say 'What For?' If he doesn't come up with a good answer real quick I'm going to tell him to scram. If he comes up with a believable one I might show him. Even if I do I'm still dropping a dime and asking for a walk through.

I'm curious about the site you listed. How do you think it helps your argument?

Re:Not porn?

I'm curious about the site you listed. How do you think it helps your argument?

The line where the author states underwear ads are not child porn.


Having a ankle bracelet is NOT proof of being a child molester anymore than wearing a priest collar. You are basing the service you are offering on what the guy looks like.

Re:Not porn?

That ad campaign was dropped immediatly. The author may say its not child porn but his own reporting says it is.

Its not just the ankle bracelet. Its a package deal. What does he look like and whats he looking for. I have no trouble discouraging questionable behavior.

There are two situations here, the other is
whether you were helping him or not would you at least be willing to ask for a police walk through?

Re:Not porn?


I guess the point is that underwear ads are not "child porn" and are legal to view. I will even grant that a grown man looking at underwear ads is questionable but still legal.

My question to you is what constitutes "questionable behavior"?

If the man was touching himself, making noises or breaking the rules of the library then I would call the police or library security.

I am not willing to call the police because the guy looked funny.

Re:Not porn?

"questionable behavior": not everything can be spelled out in detail. Its a simple case of I know it when I see it.

Re:Not porn?

What if you are wrong?

Re:Not porn?

What if I'm right? You can't lock yourself into that kind of thinking. The police officer will make their own judgement as well. The guy was wearing an ankle bracelet, he should know the drill by now.

Re:Not porn?


This is a problem. You are willing to subject someone for harassment because you do not like what he was looking at on the Internet and because he is under state supervision.

You really should save the police call for people who are committing crimes or violating library policy.

Re:Not porn?

I can't believe I'm saying this because on an individual home level I don't believe it but, in terms of the public library and the public in general the police are there for crime prevention as well as catching actual criminals. It is not unreasonable to call for a walk through and point out what you believe to be a questionable situation. He doesn't have to arrest the guy, he can simply introduce himself and in the process probably scare the crap out of him. I absolutely don't have a problem with that. And your right I don't like what he's looking at online, what sane person would?

Re:Not porn?


But the reality is that he probably would be arrested because there was a complaint and he is under state supervision.

As a librarian are you really supposed to judge (as in prevent access to) legally permissible material? First, its "boys in BVDs" then its anti-abortion websites (the ones with bloody fetuses), the hate sites etc.... Where does it stop?

Re:Not porn?

Its stops at "boys in BVDs". You keep trying to pull in other subjects but I've never mentioned them. We're not talking political ideas we're talking about predators.

Re:Not porn?


Is it still legally permissible information? Did you KNOW that the person was a sexual predator? What rules did he break?

Re:Not porn?

"Is it still legally permissible information? Did you KNOW that the person was a sexual predator? What rules did he break?"

Yes. No. None. What's your point?

Re:Not porn?

The point is that if a library patron is doing nothing wrong then the librarians should leave him/her alone. Which is what the library did. The other patron was wrong for harassing him. You would wrong for harassing him.

Nothing wrong? Re:Not porn?

You've said yourself you'd keep an eye on him and make sure he doesn't go down into Children's. You know he's doing something wrong, simply because he hasn't broken any laws is no reason not to take precautions.

Not every situation can be spelled out in a rule book somewhere. You have to use some judgement. Simply living by 'the letter of the law' is an excuse for this guy to continue to come to your library and to increase the risk of an eventual assault on a child. Nip it in the bud.

Re:Nothing wrong? Re:Not porn?

I understand the need to protect children but you are going beyond that. You do not even want this man in the library because he was wearing an ankle bracelet and looking at underwear ads. It is wrong to ban someone from the public library because you think he might do something. Trust me I used to get harassed all the time simply because of what I looked or dressed like and I hated it.

If you find out a patron is a sexual predator then you can ban him from the library because convicted sexual predators are not allowed to be around children at all. The difference is knowing a person is sexual predator vs I do not like his "total package".

Re:Nothing wrong? Re:Not porn?

Who's banning him? I'm just letting him know he's being watched. You act as if looking at 'Boys in BVDs' for any extended period of time is a normal occurence. If a guy has been going to such sites time after time for 10 to 15 minutes that pretty much tags him as a predator.

Re:Nothing wrong? Re:Not porn?

From a earlier post

Simply living by 'the letter of the law' is an excuse for this guy to continue to come to your library and to increase the risk of an eventual assault on a child. Nip it in the bud.

Maybe banning him is a little harsh but you were advocating actively discouraging him from coming into the library.

You are defining "normal" again and you are judging the validity of what someone is looking at online. Just because you find "Boys in DVDs" distasteful, it is still legally permissible for adults to view.

Re:Nothing wrong? Re:Not porn?

"Maybe banning him is a little harsh but you were advocating actively discouraging him from coming into the library."

If his behavior goes far beyond what I judge as 'normal' to the point where I think he's a threat then I have no problem with. Think of it as a lesson in manners.

Re:Nothing wrong? Re:Not porn?

I don't think the librarians can be held responsible for this. Librarians have very specific jobs and monitoring the material used by adult patrons is not part of the job description.

Librarians are not mind readers. The perv did not ask a librarian for BVD ads, he asked to have the block removed. How would you feel about having a librarian standing over your shoulder to make sure you didn't look at anything he/she finds objectionable.

Having said that, I believe the citizen who reported him did the right thing. The combination of the ankle bracelet and the material the guy was viewing appears to tell a story.

Paedophiles on parol are usually ordered to avoid schools, playgrounds, and yes, public libraries. Why? Because these are places where one finds children under 16. The guy was breaking the conditions of his parole.

The librarians don't appear to have seen the bracelet and didn't believe the patron was doing anything that contradicts library policy.

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