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Judicial Watch • Public Librarian Fired For Reporting Child Porn

Public Librarian Fired For Reporting Child Porn

Public Librarian Fired For Reporting Child Porn

MARCH 26, 2008

Sparking outrage in a small U.S. town, a public librarian was fired for reporting a man who regularly used the facility’s computers to view child porn because it violated the man’s privacy rights.

The county library aide (Brenda Biesterfeld) in the central California town of Lindsay first spotted the 39-year-old man staring at photos of naked boys on February 28. Sickened by what she had witnessed, the aide called her supervisor, who gave the man a note ordering him to stop.

The library supervisor refused to call authorities, but when the aide caught the man viewing the same kind of images a few days later, she went to police behind her boss’s back. The man (Donny Lynn Chrisler) subsequently got arrested and the public computer was confiscated as evidence. Police also found a number of explicit images at his home.

Instead of being rewarded for reporting an atrocious use of taxpayer equipment, Biesterfeld was fired for violating the man’s privacy rights. In fact, the supervisor who refused to report the man, Judi Hill, made an angry call to police after the arrest accusing officers of violating Chrisler’s privacy rights.

Shock ensued among residents and local lawmakers in the tiny city of about 11,000 residents. Members of the City Council sent a hard-hitting letter to the Tulare County officials that operate the library system and residents have held vigils supporting the fired aide. One city official said alarm bells really went off when he heard of a library supervisor questioning the right of the police department to confiscate a computer and investigate a crime.

While the right to privacy in America’s public libraries has become a heated and controversial issue after the 2001 terrorist attacks, one lawyer who specializes in the field points out that child pornography is not protected by the Constitution or the Supreme Court.


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