Are public library restrictions against pornography access unconstitutional?
That’s what the Sacramento Public Library Authority Board will decide when it votes on a resolution that could make porn available in its libraries. A meeting is scheduled tomorrow night.
Last month, when the issue was first addressed, the American Civil Liberties Union maintained the position that restricting public access to pornography in libraries would be unconstitutional, while attorneys for the Pacific Justice Institute disagreed.
Matthew McReynolds, a PJI staff attorney, argued that the issue comes down to two main concerns – taxpayer subsidization of pornography and public safety.
“The Constitution doesn’t require that we pay for public access to porn,” he said. “It may require, at least under current interpretation, to be allowed in homes, but not that you and I pay for it.
“This issue boils down to protecting kids and using public resources responsibly,” McReynolds continued. “Inviting sexual predators into libraries by providing free access to pornography has proven tragic for kids in San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta, and many other cities. We cannot let that happen in Sacramento. Benjamin Franklin would be rolling over in his grave if he knew that ‘free speech’ was being used to justify turning libraries into adult entertainment venues.”
The PJI is urging parents in the Sacramento-area to get involved by attending the meeting and urging the library board to take action that will ensure the safety of children in public libraries.
McReynolds explained that incidences of sexual assault have taken place across the country in public libraries, because sexual predators are attracted to the free access to porn and have committed assault on children after viewing it.
“Undercover, investigative type reporting has found that sexual offenses are taking place in public libraries,” McReynolds said. “Offenders sit down, go to porn websites, and next thing you know they are fondling themselves, or in the worst cases assaulting kids in the bathroom. It’s absolutely a horrendous situation.
“It creates a public safety disaster,” McReynolds said. “It does that by making porn available to sex offenders in public libraries, traditionally safe havens for kids.”
Brad Dacus, the president of Pacific Justice Institute, stated his objection to the issue of requiring taxpayers to fund porn access in a press release available on the PJI website.
“The notion that taxpayers must subsidize the viewing of internet porn is absurd,” Dacus said. “Libraries should be safe havens for learning, not magnets for sex addicts. The Library Board should be more concerned about potential liability from failing to adequately protect innocent children than from failing to please the ACLU.”
An investigative report by KGO-TV in San Francisco found multiple incidents of people performing lewd sexual acts in public view at a San Jose library while viewing porn. Furthermore, the report brought attention to the fact that porn viewed on computers in the library can be seen by anyone. Anyone offended by it can complain to a library worker who will require the viewer to place a screen on the computer that blocks vision from an angle. However, anyone standing behind the computer will still be able to see the pornography, including children.