Could Public and School Libraries be Guilty of Felony Distribution of Obscene Materials to Children per KSA 21-6401?

Would that Make Certain Johnson County Board of Commissioners Complicit?

After several residents spoke publicly last month to the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) regarding pornographic and obscene books being offered and recommended to children in both the public and the school libraries, Commissioner Charlotte O’Hara took action.

At the July 20, 2023 BOCC meeting, she made two motions regarding the effects of pornography and the impact of books being recommended by the Johnson County public libraries, but both motions were denied 5-2, with only Commissioner Ashcraft supporting them.

The first motion stated, “I move the Board to consider convening a BOCC committee of the whole to study the impact of books (such as When We Were Magic, which sexualize our children) on our children’s mental health and the broader issues and connection to the pornography addiction, including a report from the County Mental Health Department on the connection between pornography and mental health issues, pornography addiction and the impact on families.”

The second motion was, “I move the Board to direct the County staff to prepare a report from the County Mental Health Department on the connection between pornography and mental health issues, pornography addiction and the impact on families”

The process humored her by fulfilling the County’s legal requirement to hear the motions but quickly shut her down and moved on to business as usual with another 5-2 vote that denied having the County look into these books. Commissioner Fast did suggest she bring the item up to the Mental Health Board, but the Mental Health Board is not in charge of regulating government boards and committees. The Board of County Commissioners is responsible for all of the boards, committees, and coalitions under their umbrella. Therefore, passing the buck to avoid the discussion was an open ticket to allow any criminal activity to continue, making the County Commissioners complicit in the action of allowing these books to be distributed to minors.

Why are the County Commissioners ignoring the distribution of pornographic and obscene books by County-funded organizations? Good question. Does their silence make them complicit in the crime? One would hope they would be included in any future lawsuits.

Sadly, when concerned parents mention anything about not distributing or recommending books with inappropriate sexual content for kids, the opposition cries, “book banning!”

What exactly is the difference between book banning versus responsibly distributing age and content-appropriate material to minors? Kansas law has an opinion on that.

Upon hearing about the murder porn book, When We Were Magic, Kansas Representative, Carrie Barth, immediately reached out to the Kansas Legislative Research Department for clarification on some Kansas statutes, definitions, and sentencing guidelines.

KSA 21-6401 states that the crime of “promoting obscenity” is a Class A nonperson misdemeanor for a first-time offender. A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by no more than 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. A second or subsequent conviction of “promoting obscenity” is a Severity Level 9, person felony. If said promotion of obscenity was to a minor, the conviction would become a Severity Level 8, person felony. Sentencing guidelines for a Severity 9 felony would range from 5 months of probation to 17 months in jail depending upon the individual’s criminal history. Guidelines for a Severity 8 felony would range from 7 months of probation to 23 months in jail depending upon the individual’s criminal history.

But what exactly is obscenity?

KSA 21-6401 defines materials or performances to be “obscene” in lines (f)(1) through (f)(6) if all the following criteria are met:

  • The average person applying contemporary community standards would find that the material or performance, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest;
  • The average person applying contemporary community standards would find that the material or performance has patently offensive representations or descriptions of:
    • Ultimate sexual acts, normal or perverted, actual or simulated, including sexual intercourse or sodomy; or
    • Masturbation, excretory functions, sadomasochistic abuse, or lewd exhibitions of the genitals; and
  • Taken as a whole, a reasonable person would find that the material or performance lacks serious literary, educational, artistic, political or scientific value.

KSA 21-6401 defines “materials” as “any tangible thing which is capable of being used or adapted to arouse interest, whether through the medium of reading, observation, sound or other manner” and a “performance” is “any play, motion picture, dance, or other exhibition performed before an audience.”

Based on these definitions, it appears that the Johnson County public and school libraries, as well as possibly others, are clearly promoting obscenity to children on multiple counts – a Severity level 8 felony, with a punishment ranging from 7 months of probation to 23 months in jail depending on the individual’s criminal history. Would this punishment be applied to those who directly promoted and recommended the books as well as those staff or elected officials who were notified but refused to do anything about it? Time will tell.

What we are seeing in a recent infiltration from the American Library Association (ALA), and other political activist groups and librarians, is the push to sexualize minors and an in-your-face political agenda pushing far-left topics such as DEI, CRT, LGBTQ+, and more.

In a recent article from the Federalist, they report that Idaho Republicans are urging lawmakers to ditch the American Library Association after it promoted porn to kids. Montana has already made the move earlier this month; while Wyoming, Georgia, and Mississippi are calling on their libraries to do the same.

President of the ALA and self-proclaimed Marxist lesbian, Emily Drabinski, made this controversial post on social media last year.

“I just cannot believe that a Marxist lesbian who believes that collective power is possible to build and can be wielded for a better world is the president-elect @ALAlibrary. I am so excited for what we will do together. Solidarity!”

Johnson County Commissioners were already notified earlier in the year that the American Library Association in conjunction with their Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) were handing out free books to minors in the library with very questionable books promoting racism against white people, transgender and gay topics, demons and witchcraft, and more.

Journalist, Michael Ryan, wrote articles on that as well as the distribution of the children’s talking picture book The GayBC’s to 3-to-7-year olds. When he reached out to Johnson County Library staff, he received the following response, “Our collection development policy, which is reviewed and approved by our Board of Directors, supports the purchase of a wide variety of materials to support a wide variety of interests within our community,” Elissa Andre, external communication manager for the library, wrote to The Heartlander. “We defend the right of all people to have access to materials and information they seek, as well as free speech, and feel it is the parent’s privilege and responsibility to decide what is and what is not appropriate for their own child at any developmental stage.”

We contend that having access to materials and information of varying viewpoints and promoting and recommending obscene materials and divisive political ideology are two entirely different scenarios. In the case of the murder-porn, When We Were Magic, written by transgender Sarah Gailey whose preferred pronouns are “they-them” – the children did not just “have access to it” but it was promoted and recommended to the 14-year-olds through the library’s much-awaited Summer Reading Program. The librarians promoted this obscenity and the majority on the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners are allowing it.

Please reach out to the Attorney General’s office and demand legal action against all libraries, businesses, book stores, and any individual or government who are promoting or allowing anyone to distribute any pornographic or obscene books to any minor under the age of 18.

While you’re at it, request Kansas follow suit with the other states who are removing the ALA’s Marxist infiltration into our children’s minds by forbidding the American Library Association from doing business in Kansas. Make our libraries a safe place again for children to learn and thrive without being indoctrinated with and bombarded by far-left ideologies that are dangerous to their mental health.

Johnson County BOCC voting 5-2 against studies on the dangers of pornographic books in Johnson County libraries

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