Evie Fordham, DCNF
Houston Public Library banned a man who had been previously charged for sexually assaulting a child from reading to children at Drag Queen Storytime ever again.
The library apologized after not completing a background check on Albert Alfonso Garza, 32, who was last known to be reading to kids at the Montrose Library in September 2018, reported ABC 13 Friday.
Garza was charged with child sexual assault involving a victim records show was under the age of 14 in 2008.
The library blamed the failure to complete a background check on a volunteer.
The storytimes are supervised by staff, the library said, according to ABC 13.
Houston Public Library issued the following statement:
We were made aware today that one participant for Drag Queen storytime who read at the September 29, 2018, Drag Queen Storytime has a criminal background that should have prevented him from participating in the program.
We assure you that this participant will not be involved in any future HPL programs.
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.
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.
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.
Drag queen storytimes are nothing new. For example, K-12 schools brought drag queens into the classroom to teach gender ideology in 2018.
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