The Houston Public Library allowed a convicted child sex offender read to children during their Drag Queen Story Hour.
Interest in this story has been reignited as the former president of the Milwaukee foundation organizing Drag Queen Story Hour events was arrested on seven charges of child pornography.
In 2019, it was revealed that Alfonso Garza, 32, who performed at the library under the name Tatiana Mala Nina, was convicted of sexually assaulting an eight-year-old boy in 2008.
“Most parents would not allow that individual to sit in this library and be held up as a role model to our children. Shame on you, Mayor Sylvester Turner!” said Tracy Shannon with Mass Resistance, a group trying to stop these events from happening at the library, according to a report from KHOU.
The library admitted that a proper background check was not conducted on the man before he was allowed to spend time with children there. He has since been banned from the library.
“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. We deeply regret this oversight and the concern this may cause our customers. We realize this is a serious matter,” the library said in a statement.
“Every program sponsored by HPL is supervised by HPL staff, and all children are accompanied by a parent and/or guardian. No participant is ever alone with children, and we have not received any complaints about any inappropriate behavior by participants at storytimes,” the library added. “We are taking the appropriate action to ensure that the status of every participant in every program throughout our system is verified. We will continue to review our process to ensure that this cannot happen again. Once again, we apologize for our failure to adhere to our own process in this matter and to the hundreds of parents and caregivers who have enjoyed this program with their children.”
Shannon wanted to see people lose their jobs over the gross negligence.
“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 said. “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,’ she continued, ‘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.”