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Fired Librarian Now Honored for Blowing Whistle on Deaf and Dumb Kiddie Porner

California- City officials in a central California community are defending a former library worker who they say was fired two weeks ago for alerting police that a library patron was viewing child pornography at the public library.

Last Thursday, members of the Lindsay City Council passed a unanimous resolution commending city resident Brenda Biesterfeld for defying her supervisor’s orders not to contact police about the child pornography viewing. They also presented her with an award.

“This individual did the right thing by reporting it to the police, even though her supervisor said they were going to handle it internally,” City Council member Suzi Picaso told Cybercast News Service.

The city, which does not own the library, also sent a letter to Biesterfield’s former employer – the Tulare County Library System – asking why the worker was fired just two days after her call to police.

In the letter, the council also asked the Tulare County Board of Supervisors why the library’s policies didn’t call for library management to contact authorities themselves.

“Our concern is the way the whole situation was handled – her termination as well as their policies and procedures to report such a crime to law enforcement,” Picaso said.

Biesterfeld, a new employee in a probationary period at the time, first noticed a patron viewing e-mail containing pornographic pictures of children on Feb. 28. She reportedly informed her supervisor, Judi Hill, that child porn was being viewed.

“Her supervisor basically told her, ‘Do not contact the police. This happens more often than you know,'” Picaso said. “Well, if that’s true, somebody’s not doing what they need to do to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

The woman was told to give the patron, who is deaf and mute, a note telling him not to commit the same offense again or he would be denied use of the library’s computer.

“After Brenda went home, however, she couldn’t sleep and she was so stressed out about it. She has two little boys the same age as these little blonde, blue-eyed boys she saw on the screen in these pornographic images,” Picaso said.

“She couldn’t believe that her supervisor would do what she did, so she went ahead and reported it the next day,” Picaso added.

On March 4, the patron returned and again viewed child porn images on the library’s computer.

Police arrested 39-year-old Donny Lynn Chrisler on suspicion of possessing child pornography. A search of Chrisler’s home apparently led to the discovery of other photographs of child porn. Chrisler was also arrested on suspicion of participating in the production or presentation of obscene matter in public places.

According to Biesterfeld’s attorney, Mathew Staver, when Lindsay police confiscated the library’s computer for evidence, the library supervisor angrily confronted them, demanding to know who the informant had been.

Biesterfeld was fired March 6.

“It is outrageous she was fired for stopping a child pornographer,” Staver said.

Staver said his client merely did what “any person of common sense” would do.

“Child pornography is not only a grave evil that does incalculable damage to children – it’s also a crime,” said Staver, president of the conservative Liberty Counsel. “There is no right to view it, possess it, or participate in it.”

Tulare County, meanwhile, disputes the city’s account of what happened.

Eric Coyne, the county’s chief media officer, said because Biesterfeld’s ouster is a personnel matter and the child porn arrest is an ongoing investigation, the county is not at liberty to discuss either event in detail.

“She alleges that the one act was related to the other,” Coyne told Cybercast News Service. “We’ve investigated this, and that’s absolutely not true.”

Probationary employees like Biesterfeld can be terminated at any time if they don’t perform at a satisfactory level, he said.

Coyne also said that because the public “is concerned about the timing of the two events,” the county board had asked a retired superior court judge to conduct an independent investigation.

But Coyne indicated that the supervisor’s account of the incident differed from Biesterfeld’s as to whether the employee had mentioned the material was “child pornography” – or just “pornography.”

“To me it doesn’t make any difference,” Picaso said.

“She was upset at what she saw on the computer. She made it clear to her supervisor that this is what she saw, and now the supervisor, after the fact, because she is realizing that she was wrong in the way she handled it, perhaps feels the need to say, ‘I thought it was just pornography,'” said Picaso.

Officials in Lindsay, meanwhile, want the library to answer questions about why it didn’t immediately seek prosecution. The 11,000 residents of the city are concerned about the safety of their kids.

“I’m sorry. This is a serious issue here,” Picaso said. “We’re not going to let anybody kick it under the rug.”

Tulare County, meanwhile, has offered to enter into binding arbitration with Biesterfeld, but that doesn’t mean the county is offering her job back, Coyne said.


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