Saturday, April 4, 2009

ALA Whitewashes Rape and Blames Child; Removes Discussion of ALA's Possible Culpability for Rape

Shockingly, or perhaps not, the American Library Association [ALA] has whitewashed a rape in a public library, then blamed the child victim calling him "intimidated." (This matter involves the rape in the New Bedford, MA, public library. There are other library rapes.)

In "Man Gets Life for Molesting Child in a Library," by the ALA, American Libraries, 3 April 2009, [INSERTION DATED 12 APRIL 2009: source is Google cache dated 4 April 2009,][INSERTION DATED 15 APRIL 2009: Google's cache is now dated 9 April and shows the updated article including rape, so I'm again finding a way to display the original article.] the ALA refuses to say what actually happened, namely, the little boy was raped. [INSERTION DATED 12 APRIL 2009: The article was edited by the ALA on 8 April 2009 and is now entitled, "Man Gets Life for Raping Child in a Library," by the ALA, American Libraries, 8 April 2009 as amended to remove molestation and add rape from original publication on 3 April 2009.] Instead, the much softer term, "molestation," was used. It's not only softer, it can be less serious. A molestation could be something as simple as an unwanted touching.

Compare the ALA's coverage of the "molestation" with other media reports:

That last link is by a library director who said, "Frankly, I'm almost surprised that [the ALA] mentioned it at all!" So am I. The ALA routinely ignores what it does not want people to hear.

And look how the ALA partially blamed the six year old victim:
"During the time of the attack, the boy’s mother was sitting at a computer terminal some 20 feet away from her child, who was apparently intimidated into keeping silent."

Gee, if only the boy didn't keep silent while he was being raped. Oh, I'm sorry, molested.

None of those media sources said anything about the boy being "intimidated." That was made up out of thin air by the ALA in an apparent effort to help excuse what happened and perhaps try to deflect people from thinking the ALA might somehow have been responsible.

The library itself and its adherence to ALA policies may have been partially responsible for the rape. I raised this possibility in an ALA forum over a year ago, but that forum has just recently been removed, deleted! All that appears now is this:

Here is a backup link I found that may or may not still work: "Response to Mass. Library Revisits Security after Child Rape," and here is what the forum used to say before the ALA deleted it from its original link:

I have a response to "Massachusetts Library Revisits Security after Child Molested," by the ALA, American Libraries, 8 February 2008.

I'm the person from mentioned in the article. I give credit to American Libraries for being the first media report raising the filtering issue, at least that I've noticed.

Regarding Fulchino's statement regarding the existing filtering software being bypassed by the criminal, there are several problems. First, his library's web site states that it does not filter: "The Library cannot control and is not able to monitor any information on the Internet for either content or accuracy." The word "filter" does not even appear on that page ( ). If filtering is being used, it is not mentioned on the library's web site.

Second, the criminal has been described as having a low IQ. One article said he, "has been diagnosed as developmentally disabled and suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder." If a "developmentally disabled" person with a low IQ can "bypass the settings," then it is obvious the filtering software being used, if indeed it is, is not the latest or is not being administered in an effective manner.

Whichever way you look at it, Fulchino's statements indicate a potential serious problem at the library, as if the rape and the "anything goes" Internet policy have not already made that obvious.

Thank you to American Libraries for bring his statements to the public's attention. Existing security measures including video cameras were a failure, as Fulchino admits. Should his advice to taken seriously again? If I were a citizen of New Bedford, I would demand a full and public investigation by a disinterested party based on the facts including Fulchino's admissions. The seriousness of the allegations and potential for future harm outweigh the perceived gains of possible coverups.

Now for anyone's interest, here is the letter I sent to the community:
Dear City Council President Jane L. Gonsalves,

The library rape of a six year old children is criminal. At this time, all efforts are concentrated on the victim and the criminal. But you are the city's leader. You have a responsibility to see the bigger picture. In this case, the bigger picture is this type of incident might happen again and again as a direct result of the library's "anything goes" Internet use policy.

Was the criminal using the Internet before the rape to view child p*rnography? The media did not address this. If he did, did the library attempt to stop him? The media did not address this. If not, why not? The media did not address this, but the answer is on the library's own web site, "The New Bedford Free Public Library only provides access to the Internet. The Library cannot control and is not able to monitor any information on the Internet for either content or accuracy."

Did you know that is false? Did you know communities may filter all computers and the US Supreme Court has already found that constitutional? Did you know the ACLU and the courts have found filters so effective that they no longer block out health related web sites?

Worse, it is possible your library's policy has exposed it, its employees, and New Bedford to liability for failure to take action that might have prevented the child rape in the first place. A simple reading of the library policy tells me the child's rape was likely partially the responsibility of the library for having an anything goes policy and the community for failure to control its own library in the legal manner in which it may control its library. Indeed, I urge any legal action brought by the parents to include counts against the library and especially against the city for, among other things, a likely failure to enforce the library's enabling statute that I am sure does not say anything goes. Indeed I will actively attempt to contact the family's attorneys and advise them to consider the theory of liability I have outlined generally.

I thought you should consider this. You have the power to prevent future such instances by using every means possible to get your local library to apply filters to all Internet computers. Warning, the American Library Association is responsible for these anything goes policies, is specifically named by your library as its source for library policy, and will be sure to bring the full weight of its misinformation campaign to you if you do decide to protect your community's children instead of the ALA's policies.

Articles I am reading show the city is obviously thinking of ways to prevent this in the future, but all I see are methods of moving the deck chairs on the Titanic. For example, "privacy screens" do not function as claimed. Internet filters are the most effective means to resolve the situation, and that is precisely why the ALA attempts to convince people not to use them.

I will be happy to explain and source every statement I have made here. You have the legal means to remove the negative influence of the ALA from your library. It's a PUBLIC library, not an ALA library. Please let me know if I may assist.
_________________ - Are Children Safe in Public Libraries
SafeLibraries Blog -
Lastly, notice what I predicted in my letter to the Mayor of New Bedford has come true. I said, "Articles I am reading show the city is obviously thinking of ways to prevent this in the future, but all I see are methods of moving the deck chairs on the Titanic." The ALA article says, without criticism of any kind:
As a result of the attack, library trustees have modified NBPL’s patron behavior policy to prohibit adults from speaking to a minor inside the library “unless the adult is a parent, other close relative, or caregiver of the minor.” Officials also reconfigured the room in which the assault took place to maximize unobstructed sight lines.

Is that moving deck chairs on the Titanic or is that moving deck chairs? Did the ALA critically comment on the likely uselessness of those solutions at all or perhaps suggest Internet filters? Of course not. Besides, it's only a molestation that some intimidated kid invited on himself. No biggie.

Once again, the ALA has proven it is no longer authoritative and it cannot be trusted for truthful information.



  1. Look at this! An email of this blog post to the New Bedford library's director was rejected as spam!!

    He filters his spam but children only get the moving of deck chairs on the Titanic!

    Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:

    Technical details of permanent failure:

    Google tried to deliver your message, but it was rejected by the recipient domain. We recommend contacting the other email provider for further information about the cause of this error. The error that the other server returned was: 554

    554 Sorry, message looks like SPAM to me (state 18).

  2. Hrm yase when I think evil I definitely think libraries.

  3. Your reaction to the ALA's statement only highlights your own paranoia about how the ALA apparently controls every library in America (laughable). I read the same statement as blaming the Mom for not watching the kid, and making a reasonable assumption that the rapist probably threatened the kid or kept him silent in some other way. I don't see that statement as blaming the kid at all.

    As for the ALA being possibly to blame because they are against filtering, that's just crazy. Filtering or lack of filtering wouldn't keep a rapist from raping someone. I blame the RAPIST for this, but the truth is, the MOM should be taking at least some responsibility here. The library is a PUBLIC place, that means all types of people use it, and yeah, that means you can't leave your SIX year old on his own. Give me a break. The library isn't a babysitter. Watch your own freaking kid.

    The ALA is an organization that is there to help libraries and librarians, it doesn't mean libraries are obligated to do everything they say. If someone is determined enough, any filter can be broken through, and you can't expect a librarian to be looking over the shoulder of adults at every moment.

    Bad things happen. If this were a grocery store or book store or any other PUBLIC place, would you be blaming the National Grocers Association because they weren't watching other people's kids while they were in the store?

    The ALA isn't all powerful within the library world, despite what you think. Libraries can choose to follow their recommendations or not. I repeat, paranoia.

  4. Anna, I thank you for commenting here.

    The article was written in a way that one can infer a number of things, including both of our views. But even using your interpretation, blaming the mom for not watching a kid so close to her, and even if everyone agrees librarians are not babysitters while careless moms surf the Internet, we are still left with a library having policies so loose that a rapist can snatch a kid in the first place. When you add that on top of the excuse making by the library director (in other media) and the reaction of the library (add a phrase to the library policy no rapist follows and move the deck chairs on the Titanic) and the ALA, one can easily conclude that something is being covered up. There's some kind of CYA going on. And if they are covering something up, then they know they are hiding something and may have been partly responsible for the crime or the circumstances that led to the crime. No?

    Regarding your reference to the "RAPIST," which you put in capital letters for obvious emphasis, I can tell you are not an ALA mind-numbed robot. The ALA was concerned about, not the child, but the effect of the crime on the public, perhaps the public might demand filters, and so it hide the rape and called it a molestation. One library director was even surprised the ALA covered the story at all. You, on the other hand, have not adopted that CYA language, likely because you have nothing to cover up and you are being truthful. I give you credit for being honest.

    As to your argument that filtering would not have stopped the rape, you are making a conclusory statement for which you have absolutely no support. You can't help it--there is no support for your position. The truth is filters, if properly used and maintained, filter out so much of the material that rapists often use to get their minds going down that track, that those predisposed to viewing pornographic material then raping children will choose to patronize another public library that does not have filters. By the way, there is evidence that the New Bedford library had filters but did not properly use and maintain them. In my opinion, that should be investigated.

    Further, in community after community where library rapes or similar crimes occur, they often react by installing filters. One community even once decided not to use filters but instead rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic, a crime then reoccurred, then the community regretted not adding filters in the first place, then added them.

    The ALA's article is precisely designed to cover this up, to prevent another community from using Internet filters to protect its children after a devastating library crime, to prevent communities from acting proactively instead of waiting for the first child victim. That's the reason for CYA here.

    Anna, you said, "Bad things happen. If this were a grocery store or book store or any other PUBLIC place, would you be blaming the National Grocers Association because they weren't watching other people's kids while they were in the store?" Perhaps, Anna, but it would depend on the circumstances. Would the "National Grocers Association" cover up or would it act to prevent further such activity? That would be a key determinant. Now as it turns out, I know the answer to that question. In a case where a grocery store put an ALA award winning oral sex book for 12 year olds in a check out aisle at kid's eye height and next to a "Bob the Builder" book, I advised the store manager of the contents of the book, and the grocery store removed the book from the front display! It didn't cover up. It didn't make excuses. It didn't whitewash anything. See the evidence for yourself at "Grocery Store Pushes 'Looking For Alaska' Next to 'Bob the Builder' in Checkout Aisle at Child Eye Height." On the other hand, both the New Bedford library and the ALA are covering up.

    Anna, you next say, "The ALA isn't all powerful within the library world, despite what you think. Libraries can choose to follow their recommendations or not. I repeat, paranoia." Anna, it's the exact opposite. It's you who does not realize the ALA has laid the foundation that all libraries follow. In a nutshell, libraries used to look after kids, then with the influence of the ACLU, the ALA changed that quietly and on its own, then forced all libraries nationwide to stop looking after children. See, for example, "The Internet and the Seduction of the American Public Library." Anna, it's not "paranoia." Instead, it's the very reason all these library crimes surprise people--they are not aware the ALA has forced libraries to write off their former responsibilities vis-a-vis children in their communities. It is quite possible that had New Bedford had a library director who acted on behalf of the community instead of the ALA, the rape might not have happened in the first place.

    It's as simple as that, Anna, but I totally understand how the allure of the CYA story can keep anyone from thinking for themselves. I can even understand the hostility toward anyone who may tip the ALA's apple cart. But would it really hurt to have an open mind for a second and realize crimes against children may continue to happen in New Bedford public libraries because the libraries maintain allegiance to the ALA and not the community, among other reasons? Does it really bother you that I suggest New Bedford's children are still at risk and the library and the ALA may have only increased that risk even further?

  5. This could happend anywhere, and to blame ALA policies is absurd. I remember in college, before internet porn existed, women students were warned not to be alone on certian floors of the university library because some women had been raped there. Was the ALA to be blamed for that too?

  6. My answer above applies here to "anonymous" as well.

  7. What policy could a library possibly put in place that would prevent rape in any way? Assigning someone to watch each child in the library?

  8. Did you even read the article? When you click on the link you provided, the title of the story clearly includes the word Rape, not Molested. Also, when reading the ENTIRE article, you can in no way misconstrue the sentence where you claim the ALA is partially blaming the child for what happened. I would think that if a strange man who had just raped a child told the child to be quiet that it would be enough intimidation to not say anything to his mother sitting 20 feet away. How about blaming the mother for not looking after her kid, and not the ALA!? Libraries are not places where parents should feel safe in leaving their children unattended. These places are PUBLIC. Meaning ANYONE can come inside, good or bad. I would never leave my child by himself/herself at a public place, including a library. Libraries and the staff within them are not babysitters and I'm tired of people pretending like they are.

  9. The latest "Anonymous" said, "Did you even read the article? When you click on the link you provided, the title of the story clearly includes the word Rape, not Molested."

    True, but only because the ALA changed the page to remove molest* and substitute therefor rape.

    Need evidence? Then see the absence of rape in the Google cache of "Man Gets Life for Molesting Child in a Library," by the ALA, American Libraries, 3 April 2009. "It is a snapshot of the page as it appeared on 4 Apr 2009 14:43:37 GMT."

    Besides, the article as currently constituted says is was modified on the very day the last "Anonymous" posted here, namely, 8 April 2009. Hmmmm.....

    The remainder of "Anonymous's" arguments are similarly flawed.

    Let me add that in rereading the article, I see another problem further evidencing the ALA is in cover-up mode. The ALA acts as if it's the nation's censorship police, does it not? Yet here we see potential "censorship," yet the ALA article said nary a peep about it.

    Do you see it? Re-read the article. Now do you see it?

    "As a result of the attack, library trustees have modified NBPL's patron behavior policy to prohibit adults from speaking to a minor inside the library 'unless the adult is a parent, other close relative, or caregiver of the minor.'"

    What? The library is cutting off the free speech of adults? The ALA is saying nothing about this? Even after the editing the article in obvious response to my criticism, still no comments about this or the other issues I raised in my original blog post?

    Cover up?

  10. I have been roundly criticized for this blog post and my efforts generally by the appropriately-named "Society for Librarians Who Say 'Motherfucker'"("library_mofo") here:

    "ALA and Librarians Support Child Molestation!,‏" by creampoof_737, The Society for Librarians Who Say "Motherfucker," 8 April 2009.

    If anyone is wondering why I added that here given the language and the negative content, it's for reasons of free speech.


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