While pornography itself doesn’t “shoot the bullet” for sex crimes, it does “cock the trigger,” and Sacramento officials who supervise their public library system have told porn addicts to go ahead and get loaded.
The Sacramento Public Library Authority Board has decided against protecting library users from explicit pornography, a move lawyers at the Pacific Justice Institute had asked them to take, and which may, in fact, violate the library’s own Internet guidelines.
“The present policy is to require filters on the computers,” Brad Dacus, chief of the PJI, told WND. “However, all that is needed to have access to pornography is for an adult to request that the filters be removed.”
He said then anyone in the library, including young children, would be able to see the most explicit porn the Internet can offer.
“People know all too well that the pornography doesn’t shoot the bullet, but it definitely cocks the trigger,” he said. “We were asking [the library board] to minimize this risk.”
Matthew McReynolds, a staff attorney with the PJI, a non-profit 501(c)(3) legal defense organization specializing in the defense of religious freedom, parental rights, and other civil liberties, appeared at the library board meeting to encourage restrictions on access to pornography on the publicly-funded computer resources.
“There was an investigation report done recently in Chicago … and the results were extremely disturbing,” he told WND. “They had things like 33 confirmed sex crimes committed at one library branch over a period of three years, and beyond that, just numerous calls to police.”
He said the software must be installed on the computers under the federal Children’s Internet Protection Act, but it does little good if librarians turn the filters off for any reason at all.
“They don’t see it as their place to question what’s going to be accessed,” he said. But the result is that pedophiles and sex offenders are “mingling with young children” in the library facilities.
“To us it is unconscionable. We take so many measures to protect children from sex offenders. Jessica’s Law keeps them from living near schools and churches, yet here is a situation where offenders are mingling with kids in public libraries, getting aroused, and it’s a recipe for disaster.”
Sacramento library officials did not return messages left by WND asking for a response.
But the library’s own Internet policies include the advisory that, “Users may not invade the privacy of others or engage in any activity that is harassing, defamatory or threatening, or receive or display text or graphics which may reasonably be construed as obscene as defined by law.”
Besides PJI, parents and students from Sacramento had joined in the pleas for restrictions to online pornography at the publicly-funded library.
Appearing in endorsement of the no-limits policy was a law professor and another lawyer claiming affiliation with the ACLU, both of whom argued that the First Amendment protects porn. However, they didn’t explain why the taxpayers must provide it.
The library board includes the five members of the County Supervisors board, and four members of the Sacramento City Council.
The library system says it circulates about five million items annual, and it “upholds and affirms the right of each individual to have access to constitutionally protected materials” and leaves it to “parents and legal guardians” to monitor their children’s use of computers in the library.
But the PJI noted that the U.S. Supreme Court has concluded that filtering for pornography is all right, and in fact is required, if the library is to receive certain federal funds.
A report from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children noted that one in five children is sexually solicited online at some point. Nancy McBride, the group’s national safety director, noted that the Internet offers many benefits, “it gives offenders access to children when they are supposedly ‘safe’ at home.”
The report was cited in online resources at Focus on the Family, a Colorado Springs-based ministry to families and their needs.
“It is important for parents and guardians to be aware of the dangers children may face online,” reported Christine Loftus, who offers an online workshop about Internet safety. “These dangers include exposure to inappropriate material, sexual solicitation, harassment and bullying.”
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