A local public library in Houston invited a drag queen who is a convicted child-sex offender to read books to children.
Houston Public Library officials didn’t apologize for hosting Drag Queen Storytime, which is part of a national program. But they did “deeply regret” failing to conduct a background check.
The activist group Houston MassResistance did it for them and discovered that Alberto Garza, a 32-year-old drag queen who goes by the name Tatiana Mala Nina, was convicted of assaulting an 8-year-old child, reported Todd Starnes.
The event at the Montrose Library took place last September.
“In our review of our process and of this participant, we discovered that we failed to complete a background check as required by our own guidelines,” the library said in a statement on Friday.
“We deeply regret this oversight and the concern this may cause our customers. We realize this is a serious matter.”
MassResistance spokeswoman Tracy Shannon and many parents were outraged.
“If they had done their job and due diligence, if they had said wait … maybe it’s not a good idea to have a sex offender who at 200 pounds and 5-foot-11 assaulted an 8-year-old boy,” Shannon told Starnes.
Starnes reported a lawsuit was filed against the taxpayer-funded library in October calling for an end to the drag queen event.
“We may not all agree that having adult entertainers is the right way to entertain young children or promote literacy and adversity and acceptance and inclusion,” Shannon said. “But we can all agree that it’s inappropriate to have a sex offender. And for someone to not do their due diligence, to have a sex offender entertaining children at the library.”
The library said children are never left alone with the drag queens. And it argued it hasn’t received any complaints of inappropriate behavior.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, however, wrote in his Washington Update that the library’s assurances are of “little comfort to community members, who were stunned that anyone would be so lax about kids’ safety.”
“We shouldn’t have to wait for a child to get hurt before we realize what a terrible idea these story times are,” he wrote. “A local library is the last place parents should have to worry about an unhappy ending for kids.”