Pervert patron prints pedo porn at PL, librarians look - loser locked-up

A convicted sex offender was <a href=""> using the computers at the Fayetteville Public Library</a> to view and print child pornography. The librarians got suspiscious and a library computer technician remotely monitored what the pervert was doing. After seeing child porn, the librarians ordered the criminal away from the computer and called police. The convicted pervert was arrested on child porn charges at the library and is being held at the local jail without bail. Lets queue up the librarian outrage here, not only did librarians look over his shoulder physically, the looked into what he was doing electronically, and held the criminal and the computer with the evidence for police. Talk about abuse of a patron record!!! Good going Fayetteville, Arkansas library staff. Now people will not feel free to look at child porn in the library, heck they might even stop looking at adult porn and touching themselves. Way to ruin the First Amendment by violating the ALA code of 'Ethics'.


You could have left out the word pervert and still had plenty of alliteration. I'm sure there are many other words that begin with the letter p that could have sufficed. You seem stuck on the word pervert. Perhaps expanding your vocabulary with a thesaurus would help.

This is meant in a teasing way, not a criticial one.

and let THEM see the action in progress and you let THEM make the call. Thats proper librarian behavior and training.

If everyone acted like the idiot librarians in Arkansas, most child molestors would be on the streets and none would be in prison,

This entire argument could have been avoided had the article been posted WITHOUT editorial comment, and then all he would have had to do is start a "comment" afterwards telling what HE thought about it.

If simply VIEWING kiddie porn on the internet is illegal.

In June 2008, courts in Pennsylvania ruled that it was NOT illegal, depending on how it got on the computer.

Odds are about 80-20 that MDoneil has kiddie porn on his home computer, simply due to a lot of malware that dumps it on the computer even when the pop up blocker does not allow it to be displayed.

Wikipedia is CURRENTLY on the list as a "kiddie porn site" because it displays the cover of the controversial 1976 album "Virgin Killers", by the Scorpions as part of its image files.

So anyone visiting Wikipedia be on guard

Wikipedia is CURRENTLY on the list as a "kiddie porn site" because it displays the cover of the controversial 1976 album "Virgin Killers", by the Scorpions as part of its image files.

So anyone visiting Wikipedia be on guard

the assertion that virtual kiddie porn is "illegal" Most well read librarians would be aware of this. So if these images are not of children but adults made to look like children, problems. Also because it is almost impossible to prove whether the porn on the internet is real or virtual, there are also problems in convicting people who are viewing on the internet

A little over four years ago, unfortunately I can't find the post as the archive does not seem to go back that far, Blake noted that submitted articles should be more than a simple URL that directs us to articles. A bit of commentary was asked for at that time.

I submitted it with my comments and it bears my name. That is why I choose not to volunteer as an author; because if I posted stories people would blast Blake with "Matt is editorilizing and no one is stopping him."

I wrote it you, posted it, and then a poll was posted- something I've never seen before on LISNews.

I am not a reporter, I never claimed to be a member of the fourth estate. Each and every story posted here involves editorializing by the poster. The newspaper reported it, I linked to an article that answered the 6w's. I have no obligation to refrain from editorializing.

If I ever truly report a story, rather than repost or post a link I shall maintain objectivity. I don't think it is inappropriate, and obviously neither do you as you posted it after I suggested it. My comments have been edited before to remove some strong language, and you could have done that as that is understood when one suggests a story, but you posted exactly what I wrote so you cannot claim to be offended.

All I agree with is I should've edited this before I posted it. It was inappropriate for me to post that, I can do better, and normally do. I don't think this kind of language fits on the home page, no matter the subject or how true it may be. This is my fault.

I have no problem with editorializing or opinion, but the front page shouldn't read like this.

If you feel it is inappropriate change it. Sure keep the original as it is important to the discussion. Make it below the fold, or as a comment.

As I submit stories, rather than post them myself I subject my submissions to editorial control. I think we are all aware of that and we all know that not all stories get published, nor are they all published exactly as written.

I abhor child molesters, and I think we are much too lenient on child pornographers and those that view child pornography. The library is a much less safe place because of these vile people.

All of what I wrote is true. Certainly I could have asked those who wished to respond to compare and contrast the actions of the librarians in the case instant with the librarian in Rhode Island from earlier in the week, and the librarian in the Brooke Bennett murder case. Would anyone have responded, no I think not.

Unfortunately the discussion began with the tone of the post rather than the substance of the post. A library staff member used remote monitoring software to see what a patron was looking at. If librarians hold patron privacy sacrosanct; one would expect outrage akin to that voiced in the Brooke Bennett comments. Nope, nobody mentioned it. My tone is unacceptable and people take innocent pictures of babies but get 'stung' by the cops.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Style again trumps substance in the library world.

I've got to agree with birdie here. When I'm looking for your opinion on a story, I read the comments and/or your blog. I've been known to do both. But your opinion is not why I've been reading LISNews since 2003 and I really hope you'll see the potential damage you could do to the site with this kind of "reporting." I wouldn't say that this is the only time I've seen such editorializing on an LISNews post, but it is the most striking.

Can I also request that you take a little more time to edit your posts? The misspellings, run-ons and punctuation issues further undermine your content and, ultimately, the credibility of LISNews as a news source. Thanks for the consideration.

And I spell checked too, I guess I pasted the original rather than the corrected copy. Sometimes those CRTL C and CRTL A just get me all a fluster.

Oh, and as I said above I am not reporting, I simply suggested the story, pointed to something a real journalist wrote and submitted. I don't even post the stories, I just submit them and someone reads and posts them. Not everything I submit gets posted so obviously there is some editorial control.

I can't be any more clear to child molesters I hate them. If I saw this guy I would not have called the police on him, but on me for beating him within inches of his life.

You want to be polite about child molesters go right ahead. Me, I want them imprisoned forever.

N.B. I misspelled suspicious, and left a y off the word they. You'll live through it.

Come on Birdie. How many posts have you made bashing any right-wing policy or pundit you can? Let's not pretend that re-posting blog entries of others bashing Sarah Palin in October are news and then claim that someone else is editorializing when they should be reporting.

I did not post this as anonymous. Really, I didn't.

Do really think stories like What Do a Hockey Mom and a Terminatrix Have in Common? are editorilizing about Governor Palin? Do you really think that Would You Believe..."Savior of the American Publishing Industry"? would be called editorializing?

Oh and to answer your question about how many:
9/5 2 stories
9/25 1 story
10/15 1 story
11/21 1 story

So it is not like the whole thing is Birdie publishing stories editorializing about Sarah Palin. I am certain other things were editorialized about as well.

Pot, kettle... you know.

Oh, and I don't mind the editorializing. If I wanted a news feed I would just use Factiva (where do you think I see the stories I post? )

to go to some perfectly innocent websites that have adverts on the site that are similar in title to he one noted in the arrest at the top of the page as a "banner" ad.

One website is use that has only one purpose and that is a PDA optimized version of the Shoutcast database that is a database of internet radio stations that use the WinAmp media player .pls playlist format that has a banner ads that frequently shows links to all sorts of prurient websites at the top of the page, and all I am doing is looking for the playlist that will allow me to listen to WNYC AM.

This is not uncommon these days. Even the person making money from the banner ads has no control over the banner content. On advertisement might be for the local Chevy Dealership, the next one might be advertising a "Librarians in Leather" site.

Given the nature of conservatives, I would suspect an overreaction ,more than anything else.
Arkansas has a running record of arresting innocent grandparents for taking innocent photos of their grandchildren, simply because the religious right believes them inappropriate.

Thanks for defending the convicted sex offender and child pornography lobby. I am sure your local ALA representative is proud of you.

I'd be anonymous too if I supported perverts right to look at child pornography.

Grandparents' photos of their children on a bearsking rug? Please nobody is that deluded - well nobody else but you is perhaps a better way to put that.

You still don't address the facts that librarians are not prepared to judge what is pornographic and what is not, nor the intent of the person looking at the sites.

Wouldnt it be a hoot if they turned in some president of an anti kiddie porn organization hunting down kiddie porn sites for organizational purposes or to start a petition demanding that the library use filtering software? Or a right wing journalist for a right wing rag doing an article on libraries that do not block porn sites on public library terminals.

I have worked in public libraries where I have had right wing religious maniacs purposefully bring up a porn site and then drag me over to the computer to demand that we do something to block those kind of sites, as some sort of object lesson to me, as if seeing the site would make some sort of good point.

It is totally inappropriate for the librarians to make this call. They are not officers of the court.

If they had any suspions, they should have taken note of the person, and then if it became more obvious, they could have requested a police presence in the building to either watch for what someone who was more versed with the law make a decision, OR, to simply create an environment that was safer.

Or they could EQUALLY watch everyone by placing cameras behind the public computers so they can watch what everyone is doing online.

Putting the whole reporting/editorializing discussion aside...

Fortunately, I've never had to deal with this particular issue. Sure, we've had people printing adult porn. We told them to cease and desist. We've had people printing anime-type porn, and while some of the characters look child-like, it's not quite child porn. Again, we told them to cease and desist. In both, we've had repeat offenders, so they were banned from using the computers. I can assume, not having been in this situation, that if I saw something that definitely was child porn, I would call the cops. Or go to my boss and have her call the cops. It's a crime. Simple as that.

We help the cops whenever they give us descriptions of people to look out for. We've called the cops before about domestic disturbances, fights, unattended children, and for patrons that were not in their right minds. The library is a public place, it's not a santuary. Now, I'm not going into a patron's record to check addresses or whatnot without a warrant. Heck, even with a warrant, I'd turn that responsibility over to my boss. I'm only a circ clerk. She gets paid the big bucks to make those kind of decisions.

And again, some photos are not easy to tell intent. Notice I said not all. I'm not defending anyone about anything. I'm just saying you cannot lump it all together. Now, I have a few pictures of my child bathing or playing in a kiddie pool and never had a problem getting them developed. Never been arrested for child porn. But sometimes photo lab workers might jump the gun to call the cops. Sometimes, not all the time.

working in a photo lab.

We simply never developed the prints of anything that the owner deemed pornographic. They got the developed film back, but no prints. The film was the owners property, but the paper and the processing was still owned by the business, which reserved the right to sell or not sell its services to itself.

There have not been a few photo lab workers who have jumped the gun, but a rash of them. An excessively large number of them relative to the past, especially since the religious right has started to assert its own sense of what is right or wrong onto others. The American Taliban decides what is appropriate and what is not.

In 2004, for example, a television personality, on a UPN station in California, was arrested for possessing "teen porn" only there was no porn at all. No nudity whatsoever was involved, all the photos were legal. The arresting officer claimed that there were ten year olds wearing thongs and pasties, but when ALL of the photos were shown on MSNBC, it seemed that the "special agent" had seriously embellished his public comments. The photos were all legal teen modeling photos.

This is becoming more and more common. One group imposes its own definition of pornography onto another, and frequently people are being arrested for much ado about nothing.

Even if those photos could be considered inappropriate by some, if those kids were clothed in those photos, even WITH thongs and pasties, that library may see itself in a load of trouble and hit with a major law suit because the definition of porn, even kiddie porn, is not as loose in the courts as one thinks.

Even the opinion of what in a picture is "sexual" and what is not is subject to wide variation. As in the photo taken by the New Jersey grandmother. Some right wing religious nuts saw sexual all over one photo others saw nothing but cute kid.

I hope part 2 of this story ends up seeing that library system having the crap sued out of them and then the librarians might be a bit more circumspect before they act

Street photographers taking photos of people at an Oktoberfest in the Dallas Fort Worth area.

Women and kids totally dressed and simply walking around or taking part in the activities at the festival. Some police deemed photos of women and young girls who were walking around in halters and shorts cut TOO short as being "pornographic" and arrested the guy who was taking photos to sell to local paper. As usual even the police jumped the gun as to the purpose of the photos, and the arrest was deemed inappropruate because there was no reasonable expectation of "privacy" in a place as public as an Oktoberfest.

This is occuring continually now, and we publically hear about the arrests, but we never hear the public apologies when the arrest was inappropriate.
The problem is that even the police are getting it very, very wrong in the process of arresting people.

There is one major problem here and the library may see itself sued over it:

"Library staff approached Demers and ordered him to move away from the computer while they contacted police. "

I doubt they actually had any right to hold him until the police arrived. Thy could have called a police officer discretely and had them make the determination, but they of course, did it backwards

I will not comment on the allegations you make about Octoberfest pictures as your allegations are unsubstantiated and not specific enough to actually investigate.

However Arkansas certainly does allow a citizen to arrest someone for comitting a felony, and in the case instant viewing child pornography is most assuredly a felony.

Unfortunately the Arkansas Code online is down right now, but our friend google helped us find this amazing quote from a member of the police department in the town where this happened.

Sgt. Bill Phelan with the Fayetteville Police Department: "a private person or citizen can make an arrest if they have reasonable grounds to believe a person has comitted a felony offense."

I think the librarian seeing the child pornography, and the library IT staff member mirroring his machine and seeing the same thing is enough probably cause for a citizens arrest. But I don't practice law in Arkansas.

what IS breaking the law and what isnt.

If everyone of those girls in the photos is 18 made up to look like 12, he hasnt broken the law. Sgt Phelan is covering his ass, but legally in order to make a citizens arrest, the felony has to be a CLEAR violation of the law and not an assumed one. If I were to see someone commit a murder, yeah, I COULD make a reasonable assumption and arrest the person. But since the laws on child pornography are vague and apply to the production, transportation and OWNERSHIP of the child pornography, viewing it, even on a public computer, is still problematic.

What the librarians have done is to give this guy a get out of jail for free card. But you wont see that in the newspaper.

Does he OWN a public computer. Well, only indirectly. Does the library own the pornography because it is on a public computer and images may still be stored on the hard drive. Should the employees at the library be arrested because the kiddie porn is on a library owned computer? So far, it has not been determined if looking at kiddie porn fits the law of owning or transporting kiddie porn over the U.S. border. Creating the website is possibly illegal. Looking at it may very well not be.

So yes, the possibility of citizens arrest exists, but not in the case of something that may not be illegal.

Please see 18 U.S.C. §§ 2251, 2252, 2252A regarding the illegality of receiving child pornography over the Internet.

Your statements that it has not been determined that looking at child pornography fits the law of owning or transporting said material over the US border are bizarre at best, incompetent, and completely incorrect.

The US border is not in question, as Federal law regulates interstate commerce, as well as telecommunications the national border issue you raise is incorrect.

One need not own, or transport - even with the bizarre definitions you suggest- the illegal material; wilfully viewing it on even another's computer is prima facie evidence of criminal conduct.

However you have indeed presented the librarian outrage I called for. You have attempted, however inartfully, to excuse the conduct of a convicted sex offender, and accuded child pornographer. Well done.

Its not the receiver, but the sender who is in violation of federal law.

I am not excusing anything. I am opposing the typical right wing neo nazi attitude that decides to take the law into its own hands rather than actually follow the law. As it stands the librarians actually dont have the law on their side and they know it, because the libraries own policies merely allow them to BAN someone using the public computers from the library, and state nothing about CALLING the police.

Interviews with the librarian in charge of this have her stating that in the past, this is how they handled prior cases of dealing with viewers of child pornography. Which means they dont have a legal leg to stand on when simply banning one person, and calling the police on another.

The first thing the defense attorney will ask is what is the library policy, the second will be, why have you never called the police in previous circumstances and the next words that will be uttered in the court will be "Case dismissed"

The next day, the library will see a letter saying they are being sued for 20 or 30 million dollars and in a few years, you will see a little notice in library journals about someone getting a few million dollars from an Arkansas Library.

If I had my way, the librarians would do jail time if the courts determine that they violated the persons civil rights by not taking the appropriate steps, not having a fixed policy, and selectively deciding to call the police in this case, while never having done so in the past.

The problem is that there seems to be little law covering the mere "viewing" of child pornography.

You are committing a crime if you produce it. If you SEND it over telephone lines. If you COLLECT it. But not much that governs looking at it. Then there is the entire issue of "virtual porn" in which there is an adult in the picture made to loolk provocative. Even if there are OTHER real children in the photos who are not naked or in blantently sexual positions, and the adults made to look like children are, their is no crime.

Librarians have been fired for reporting what these librarians reported, and the ALA supports this position precisely because simply VIEWING kiddie porn is still in a legal limbo that is vague.
In 2002 the courts struck down parts of the child pornography laws, the Bush Administration responsed with the "PROTECT ACT" in 2003 which has has parts struck down by U.S. State courts in 2006:

Pennsylvania court says viewing child porn 'not illegal'
OUT-LAW News, 10/11/2006

A US court has ruled that viewing child pornography on a website without deliberately saving it to a computer is not a crime. The judge said that the state penal code was ambiguous, so he must rule in favour of the defendant.

Again, librarians are in no position to make these determinations.

All you have is the word of the library staff, because the printouts were not found on the person of the patron nor were they found in the printer he was sitting at. They were thrown away, but thats not enough again. It will end up being the word of the librarians against the patron. Now all they have is a circumstantial case, which even a public defender is going to have a field day with.

Even when I was doing this stuff, we knew well enough to get a cop first, have THEM see the person in the process of doing whatever they were doing, so that there was no question of what actually occured.

All this guy needs to do is say that the computer was like that when he sat down at the terminal. Even as a convicted sex offender, there is a problem with what these idiot librarians did.

There was a printout that was retrieved, he confessed post Miranda. The computer is being forensically examined.
There was remote monitoring and that testimony can be introduced. That opens the door for expert testimony from the IT person about how the patron at the computer was viewing different URLs. It can also introduce expert testimony about how the computer is cleared between patrons automatically.

Why would you think the testimony of a cop would be any more valuable than the testimony of a librarian or patron who observed the same thing. It is not.

Different Anonymous, but still replying anyway.

If you just take what this article said, he "wadded and threw" the paper away. Just because you throw something away doesn't make it yours. If you take that action by itself, he could have just been clearing up his work area of trash others left behind. Now, putting it all together with the other evidence, then other conclusions can be drawn.

About testimony, presumably cops are actually more properly trained than librarians to determine what constitutes the crime of child porn. And it never hurts to have a police officer back up the library staff's observations.

And confessions can be recanted. The computer evidence can be thrown out. The case hasn't played out in court yet, so we have to wait and see on that.

No cop saw the person in the act, and confessions made under duress are frequently thrown out.

The proper behavior, one which most librarians in well run systems would follow to the letter is to watch the activities and THEN call the police and let THEM witness the person in action.

These were the dumbest librarians on the planet. The public defender is likely to get this case tossed out on that alone.

No one who has any authority to make a legal call on what they guy was doing actually WITNESSED him in action. There could easily be alternative explanations by which when in court, this could be totally denied.

And actually by law, the guy himself was not doing anything illegal. It IS illegal to own, create or transport child pornography into the United States. Looking at it on the internet has yet to be determined as an illegal act. If he was using the internet to CONTACT children off of a web site, then you have a problem.

This is the U.S. Statute:

18 U.S.C. § 2252 prohibits the production, transportation, or knowing receipt or distribution of any visual depiction "of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct." For the purposes of Title 18, 18 U.S.C. § 2256 defines a "minor" as any person under the age of eighteen years, and "sexually explicit conduct" as actual or simulated:

"(A) sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex;
(B) bestiality;
(C) masturbation;
(D) sadistic or masochistic abuse; or
(E) lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of any person"

"Sexual intercourse" and "bestiality" (sex with an animal) seem pretty clear - if your website displays images that a prosecutor believes involve minors engaged in sexual intercourse or bestiality, expect to be prosecuted. Which acts constitute "masturbation" or "sadistic or masochistic abuse" may be more difficult to define, because participants engaged in such activities tend to do so for a sexual purpose. Clearly a child could appear to be engaged in such activities without intending a sexual purpose. What a child intends by his or her actions is irrelevant, however, because Federal law prohibits "simulated" as well as actual acts. Many states also address this issue by prohibiting images of minors touching or displaying their bodies "for the purpose of sexual stimulation of the viewer." (See, for example, California Penal Code §§ 311.3-312.7).

Section (E) prohibits images of "lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area." Courts that have interpreted this section have done so broadly - "as used in the child pornography statute, the ordinary meaning of the phrase "lascivious exhibition" means a depiction which displays or brings forth to view in order to attract notice to the genitals or pubic area of children, in order to excite lustfulness or sexual stimulation in the viewer." See United States v Knox (1994). You may risk prosecution if your website displays images of minors depicted in a way that excites viewers.

It refers to the owners of the site not those who are accessing them. This is again primarily because of intent.
You can be looking at totally innocent sites and have all sorts of stuff pop up on them.

Unanswered Questions:

The Courts will likely continue to define what is prohibited under the child pornography laws. For example, if a website displays legal images of children, perhaps scanned from magazines and other legal sources, in a way that a prosecutor believes could excite some viewers, can that website be prosecuted under the child pornography laws? In many states and countries the age of consent is younger than 18. Can the USA prosecute a webmaster in another country who is displaying images of a 16 year old nude model, even if the images are not illegal in the webmaster's home country? The USA invades other countries to enforce its drug laws, so it's possible that webmasters in other countries might find themselves hauled to the USA to face criminal charges if they violate USA child pornography laws.

Lots of problems here. Were these children, or 18 year old girls made to look like children. The librarians are not in any real position to KNOW this. It is up to the police to make this determination, not the librarians.

7. Conclusion:

If you want to be safe, do not display any images of minors on your adult website and do not advertise or suggest that your models are minors. If your website displays any arguably sexual images of minors, you may risk prosecution if it appears that your site exists for the sexual stimulation of viewers. If you display any questionable images of minors on your website, make sure you have a good lawyer. If you have any questionable images on your site, but you know that the model depicted is of legal age, make sure that you have the necessary legal records you will need to produce if you are prosecuted.

"18 U.S.C. § 2252 prohibits the production, transportation, or KNOWING RECEIPT or distribution of any visual depiction..."

I'm not a lawyer-I'm not even good-looking enough to play one on television-but I think that viewing a proscribed image on the Internet-and thus downloading it to the viewing device-would constitute "knowing receipt," don't you?