TV Interview with the author of library diaries

Someone passed along a link to a video interview with the author of The Library Diaries.

It’s 30 minutes long. For those who don’t want to sit through it, here are some highlights.

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Nice sex-offenders

While we're painting sex offenders with a broad brush, let me tell you fine people that I am a registered sex offender.

My crime?
I stopped off on the side of a state road in the mountains of East Tennessee, far from any homes or civilization, and walked back into the woods to take a leak.
When I returned to my car there was a Tennessee State Trooper at my vehicle. He asked what I had been doing in the woods and like a fool I was honest and told him. He ARRESTED ME! impounded my car! I went to jail for the first time in my 45 years on earth! I had to make bail (pay out 10% of the bail amount to a bail bondsman) They charged me with indecent exposure and rather than risking imprisonment I took an Alford Plea (didn't admit guilt but took the plea deal).
Now years later I have to register as a sex offender!

Nobody saw my penis. I didn't expose myself to any children. I was doing what nature intended, as bears do. And now I can't live or work within 1000' of a school, daycare, etc. and soon, if politicians running for re-election get their way, I won't be able to travel overseas with my wife. I have to give up all my email addresses and screen names to the police who will probably email me kiddy porn since you people have said entrapment of potential pedophiles is OK.

I NEVER look at porn! I never even go into the library. And you bastards want me locked up and the key thrown away??

Not all "sex" offenders are actually "sex" offenders.

I am responding to the unjust accusation of the above guy. My brother is currently in a similiar situation. He works from home in a seperate workshop in the back of his house. They had a 13 year old neighbor (female) who used to babysit for their son. They stopped using her to babysit after they found out that she got into trouble at school for selling drugs. One day last summer when my brother was working in his workshop, this girl came to his workshop when my brother had his sander going (very loud) and came around behind him and grabbed his genitals. My brother jumped and screamed at her, telling her to leave. She started crying and went home. About 4 months later, the police showed up at my brothers house one day and arrested him. It took him days to find out what he was arrested for, meanwhile his wife and little boy were devestated. He was charged under an umbrella charge of "rape" because he "allowed" a minor to touch him, even though he had no way of knowing she was going to do that. After spending months in jail, he was released when my Mother could raise 300,000 dollars for bond. My brother has NO prior history...not even a traffic ticket! He is a wonderful member of his community and loved by everyone. Today, after more than 18 months, he is on house arrest, can't work, and is pending trial in 3 weeks. The prosecuter is a man hating lesbian (really, she is! And that is not a gay bashing statement. One of my best friends is a gay man) out to make an example of my brother and to run for DA next year. Every attorney in our area that has looked at the transcript calls this absurd that he was ever charged with anything! My brother is facing 15 years in prison all because of a brat that was embarrassed and mad that she was turned down and told her daddy a lie. This girl has a juvenile record a mile long that can't be brought out in trial because of a NC law protecting minors. This is so unjust. This girl even admits under oath that my brother didn't do anything to her and then once she states under oath that she "just can't remember what happened".
Don't always judge a book by it's cover. Yes, I agree that we need to protect our children. I have 3 children. But, I have seen the other side and it can be VERY unjust.

Guilty plea

You should not have plead guilty. The Tennessee statute for indecent exposure does say that urinating is indecent exposure but the statute had a clause that this has to be done in public. Public is defined as:(B) (i) "Public place" means any location frequented by the public, or where the public is present or likely to be present, or where a person may reasonably be expected to be observed by members of the public. "Public place" includes, but is not limited to, streets, sidewalks, parks, beaches, business and commercial establishments, whether for profit or not-for-profit and whether open to the public at large or where entrance is limited by a cover charge or membership requirement, bottle clubs, hotels, motels, restaurants, night clubs, country clubs, cabarets and meeting facilities utilized by any religious, social, fraternal or similar organizations.

If you were in the woods like you said I think you could have avoided a conviction if you went to trial because you did not meet the statute.

nice?

In using the term 'nice', I was responding to the use of the term by mdoneil. By 'sex offender', in my mind, I was assuming sex offender meant someone who used violent means or had malicious intent. I didn't say all REGISTERED sex offenders are not nice. I knew that indecent exposure could be one of the charges that leads to the registry. I haven't researched enough about registry laws to know all the details of every crime and requirement of registration. I had assumed that there were degrees of indecent exposure or that the exposure had to be witnessed. I guess it's true what they say about assuming.

And I never said anything about locking people up and throwing away the key. That sentiment could come from mdoneil's comment or from the story these comments originated on, but I would hope you wouldn't infer that from mine simply because I said I didn't think there was a nice sex offender.

It is truly awful what happened to you. I do know it is illegal to relieve oneself in the outdoors in many areas of the country. It's is unavoidable in certain situations, believe me I know. Do I think that should warrant registry as a sex offender? No. It's also awful that others would question why you speak up or read this site. Who cares what walk of life you come from? Who cares why you read this site? If we only had one type of commentor on this site, it would be extremely boring and one-sided. I thank you for commenting and adding another layer to this discussion.

That is really crappy for you

It says nowhere in your note that you had a lawyer. That would have been something good to have.

While you think you took the plea that was in your best intrest, it in fact was not - of course this is in hindsight.

I would get a very good lawyer who can help you with post convition relief.

I am not that lawyer, but I can certainly help you find one (not using my lawyer-fu, but my librarian-fu which is much stronger) if you need one.

You are no more a sex offender than I - yep I've tinkled in the woods of WNY.

Legislative failures are also to blame. Getting tough on crime is great, but our legislators frequently fail to recognize how it may affect the periphery of what they choose to regulate. Tell your elected officials to quit making new law. We have plenty as it is, lets make the best of them and get rid of the bad ones.

N.B. This is not legal advice. Anybody who takes legal advice from me is nuts. ( I don't know what state you are in an I don't want a UPL problem.)

Things that amaze me

1. People are willing to take a plea bargain, but whine about the conditions.

2. Someone who doesn't use the library is posting on a library news site.

3. Articles on sex offenders make sex offenders come out of the woodwork. Seriously, why does this happen? Is there a sex offender mailing list? Do you people have "sex offender" on your Google Alert?

Continue being amazed

1. Plea bargains: Walk a mile in my shoes.
2. Library sites: See below and the (apparently in the case of present company incorrect) assumption of a more intelligent group of posters.
Google alert: Yes. You are 100% correct!

But more importantly, this new witch hunt which (ha!) too many American's wholeheartedly agree with, (routing out "sex offenders" and affixing them with scarlet letters,) will come around and bite us all in our collective backside.
We have already said to our legislators that's it's OK with us if they don't afford certain types of (alleged) criminals the Constitutional protections enjoyed by the rest of us. We have said (by tacit agreement) that it's OK for government to enact ex post facto laws so long as they are directed toward those who we are afraid of.
What great leap in logic will it take for you to realize that once we allow the camel's nose into the tent, his whole body will quickly follow, and YOUR rights will be tossed aside for some believed expediency?

Don't include me in that we, please.

I write my legislators, I probably annoy them. Writing the state legislators is much more productive than writing the federal folks.

Rep. Baxley in Florida tried to pass laws about internet filtering and some nonsense about having sex offenders identify themselves to library staff when they enter the library.

Both of those died in committee, but I wrote the sponsor of the Bills Rep. Baxley as well as the representative from my district polite pointed letters spelling out why they were bad ideas.
( Filtering should be local boards decision not statewide, and sex offenders identifying themselves to staff - what possible good could it do and it wastes the staff's time.)

I also wrote the Florida Library Association but they more more slowly than a one legged octogenarian.

So don't lump me in with the do nothings who want mroe laws passed to make them feel good. Enforce the good laws we have, get rid of the bad ones - that is what we should be doing.

Things that amaze me

People who complain about people positing and reading LISNews.

So your feeling is that

So your feeling is that LISNews is the proper place for sex offenders to explain why they really aren't sex offenders? This is really just going to irritate the SafeLibraries guy more.

Absurd question

If you want a binary answer.... is LISNews the proper place for sex offenders to explain why they are not sex offenders? I must answer yes.

It is not the preferred place for them to explain; however since this discussion did indeed touch upon sex offenders however tangentially; censoring or removing a response that is the least big germane is simply unacceptable.

The proper forum is in Court, but since there is most probably no widely read, open minded forum in which sex offenders - or at least persons required to register as sex offenders even if there were simply answering the call of nature in the foliage- may discuss their predicament I feel LISNews can serve that purpose in the few instances that it has become an issue related to libraries and librarians - the prime focus of this forum.

Would I prefer persons who must register as sex offenders not participate at LISNews? Yes I would, but frankly it is not my sandbox so I can't say who plays. Even if it were my sandbox, I will not stifle discussion that is related to the topics at hand.

I don't care if safelibraries is irritated, I don't care who is irritated. We are all irritated from time to time. Just because I don't agree with someone's substantive discussion does not mean it should not take place - in fact it is just the opposite. By challenging our ideas we can learn and grow.

To return the favor, do you think speech on the internet should be censored simply because you don't like the content?

I don't recall calling for

I don't recall calling for any posts to be censored or removed. I was merely commenting on the fact that whenever sex offendership comes up falsely accused sex offenders appear and start posting their war stories.

To me this is odd behavior.

odd behavior

And I find it odd that this is something that you obviously keep track of, I say sarcastically.

So only library patrons could read LISNews? A person who doesn't regularly frequent a library couldn't be intriqued by a website that compiles lots of varied news articles and has spirited discussions and debates over topics that often venture outside of the subject of libraries? Why does this seem familiar? I could be wrong, but I think there was a discussion like this in the past, only it was about why people who don't work in libraries read this site. I could I have dreamed that up.

I don't care how the commentor found the site. I don't care if he searched for it, stumbled upon it, or is a frequent visitor. I looked at the content of what he said and thought about it before responding to it without attacking him. That's what good discussion and debate is all about. I like the discussions, that's why I frequent this site, in case you're wondering.

I find all these snide comments petty and childish. And boring. Yawn.

d'oh -- recall *asking* for

d'oh -- recall *asking* for

Sold out

The Library Diaries is currently sold out.

ummm...

Taken from the highlights because I don't have time to watch: "She also wanted to raise questions about whether or not a sex offender should be allowed to have children."

Someone should tell her that not all sex offenders are pedophiles.

Not all...

Not all sex offenders are Presbyterians or Republicans either.
Should sex offenders have children - even sex offenders whose victims were not children?

I really don't care. Since ordering that sex offenders be sterilized is simply not allowed under our laws (they can certainly volunteer) the question is moot.

Should criminal pedophiles have children? No.
Should other sex offenders have children? No.
Should murderers have children? No.
Should any violent criminal have children? No.
What difference does it make? They can't be stopped if they wish to.

I would think that most sex offenders do not target children, that does not mean I want to have lunch with them.

Of course if they were a library patron I'd help them the same way I'd help anyone else. Even people in prison get library services. I don't have to like the patrons I just have to do my job.

Sex offenders are scumbags. Sex offenders that prey upon children are the scourge of the earth, not fit to walk among normal people nor live in pits of animal effleuvia.

Why do you find the need to clarify the 'grades' of sex offenders? If you commit a violent sexual crime you are a sex offender. Being a nice sex offender who only attacks middle aged people is no prize. I'd rather hang out with the pot smokers and bad check writers and save the prison cells for the violent sex offenders.

What does this have to do with this book interview???

Does this person actually know anyone who is a sex offender? Do people realize that if you date someone when your 17, and the person you date is 16, and the parent gets mad at you, they can file statutory rape against you and you will be on the sex offender list for years and years, and ruin your life?? That you can be wrongly and unjustly accused and convicted and put on this list?? that is why they need to segregate the list into different parts. My boyfriend was wrongly convicted of "attempted penetration" when he was 22 years old. He had left the party it happened at 3 hours prior and when he returned they said it was him. He was convicted of this with no evidence, just hearsay, and he served 20 years in prison for it. Not only that, but he now has to be on the register for the next 20 years. Where is the justice in this??

The need to clarify

"Why do you find the need to clarify the 'grades' of sex offenders?" Maybe because in the brief synopsis of this author's interview, and in many comments I see on this site, no one can seem to make the distinction that sex offender does not automatically mean pedophile. All the stories about porn on library computers often generate many comments about peodphilia, even when it does not involve child porn. Example, some average guy is looking at adult-on-adult porn on a library computer. Is he a pedophile? Probably not. The main concern that pops up frequently in comments is that children could be around to see it on the computer screen. A valid concern, but how does that directly relate to the person being a sick pedophile? He's guilty of allowing viewing porn where minors could see it, distributing porn to minors or whatever the legal term is. That doesn't make him a pedophile. Yet, many commenters throw the word pedophile into their comments on that situation. I don't get it. (And no, I'm not for porn on library computers. I don't want my comments above to be mistaken as condoning such stupidity of viewing porn in public.)

I am in no means defending any sex offender and do not mean to be nit-picky. I do not think there is a "nice" sex offender. But not all sex crimes are against children. That was the only thing I was trying to point out, mainly because it seemed like that was the author's main focus. I have yet to actually watch the interview, so I don't know that for a fact.

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