October 4, 2022
Wyoming librarians will not be charged with making sex ed and LGBTQ-themed books
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — A prosecutor won't charge library employees for making sex education and LGBTQ-themed books available to young people in a deeply conservative city in Wyoming coal-mining country, saying he wouldn't have a case.The three books in the teenager section and one in the children's section are among dozens contested at the library in…

CHEYENNE. The prosecutor will not charge library workers for making sex education, and LGBTQ-themed books accessible to young people in Wyoming’s conservative city. He said he would not have a case.

The three books in Gillette’s teenager section and the one in Gillette’s children’s section were just a few of the many disputed at the library. The complaints have been reviewed by library officials.

A couple brought five books to the attention Campbell County Sheriff’s Office, September. The matter was referred to county prosecutors by the Sheriff’s Office. They asked for a neighboring prosecutor to handle it to avoid any conflict of interest with other county officials.

The books include “This Book is Gay”, “How Do You Make a Baby”, “Doing It”, “Sex is a Funny Word,” by Cory Silverberg and “Dating and Sex, A Guide for the 21st century Teen Boy” (by Andrew P. Smiler.

Four of the books aren’t obscene, and having them in library youth sections doesn’t constitute “sexual intrusion” under Wyoming laws. Weston County Attorney Michael Stulken wrote Wednesday in an email to Campbell County Sheriff Scott Matheny.

“I can’t ethically bring criminal charges against someone if the facts surrounding an incident are not supported with probable cause,” Stulken wrote.

Stulken did not review “This Book is Gay” as he didn’t have a copy. Monday’s vote by the library board was to confirm a decision made by staff to move “This Book is Gay” out of the teens section. The Gillette News Record reported. Terri Lesley, the library’s executive Director, stated Thursday that

Stulken seemed to have been thoroughly researched. Lesley emailed that “I’m happy to have the decision made so we can move forward.”

Hugh Bennett filed the complaint with sheriff’s office along with his wife Susan. They called the decision to not file charges disappointing.

“We hoped that they would see a problem in recruiting children for sexual activities when they aren’t mature enough to handle it. This created an issue that should not have been created,” Bennett said to The Associated Press.

Bennett stated that the couple believes it is wrong to use public funds to keep such books in library youth sections.

” I’m not going to change my mind due to something a lawyer decides to do or not to do,” Bennett stated.

Such complaints still pose a threat to Wyoming’s LGBTQ community, according to Sara Burlingame (executive director of the LGBTQ advocacy organization Wyoming Equality).

“Welcome Wyoming. All kinds of things are unacceptable to us. Burlingame stated that we don’t expect the government to take action against our neighbors.

The book objections were raised in response to threats and protests last summer regarding a transgender magician who was scheduled to perform at the library. This caused the magician to withdraw.

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