Friday, August 29, 2008

The Law says return the book, lady!

This has been an ongoing saga since last year, when JoAn Karkos removed a book from the Lewiston Public Library because she found it obscene. She attempted to charge the library with obscenity late in 2007 (read Sun Journal article here detailing the results). In her closing arguments delivered in court yesterday, "Karkos accused the public library of contributing to an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases by disseminating prurient information." [Source]
She'd rather go to jail
By Christopher Williams , Staff Writer
Thursday, August 28, 2008

LEWISTON - A local woman said Wednesday she's prepared to go to jail rather than return a library book about sexuality that she calls "dangerous" to children.

JoAn Karkos, 64, was confined to a courtroom at 8th District Court for about an hour after she was ordered by a judge to hand over the borrowed book: "It's Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex and Sexual Health."

Judge Valerie Stanfill revised her order shortly after noon, giving Karkos until the end of the week to produce the property of Lewiston Public Library. Karkos also was ordered to pay a $100 fine within a month.
Stanfill ruled that Karkos had violated the library's policy and ordered her to return the book. The judge asked Karkos where the book was.

"I have it in my possession," Karkos said. She paused, then repeated that general answer each time the judge pressed her. Finally, Karkos said she had the book with her.

"Then return it right now," Stanfill said.

"I'm going to hang onto the book, your honor," Karkos said.

Stanfill advised Karkos she could be held in contempt of court if she refused to comply with a court order.

"Please return the book," the judge said.

"Your honor, I cannot return the book," Karkos said after a pause.

"I am ordering that book be returned today," Stanfill said. She told Karkos she would have to stay in the courtroom until she gave up the book. After the judge left the bench, a court officer ordered the public out of the courtroom.

Karkos sat in the courtroom until shortly after noon when the judge returned and revised her order, giving Karkos until 4 p.m. Friday to return the book.

Stanfill said she had no intention of hauling away Karkos in handcuffs and making her a martyr for failing to return a library book, said McAllister, who had returned to the courtroom.

Library Director Rick Speer, the only witness other than Karkos to testify during the short trial, said he was pleased with the outcome. "We felt that one person does not have the power to keep the book from 36,000 citizens of Lewiston."

After Karkos' actions were picked up by the media, the library received eight copies of the sexual education book from people around the country, including parents and concerned educators, Speer said.
"We believe an educated person is an empowered person," he said.

Speer, who has held his post at the library for 24 years, said Karkos borrowed the book last summer, then sent him a letter saying she planned to keep it because she didn't think it was fit for children. She enclosed a check for $20.95 to cover the cost.

Speer returned her check, explaining that the book was not for sale. He also explained the process she could follow if she believed the book should be pulled from the library's shelf.
The book, written by Robie H. Harris and illustrated by Michael Emberley, was published in 1993. It features frank but cartoon-like pictures of naked people in chapters on topics such as abstinence, masturbation and sexually transmitted diseases.
In her closing arguments, Karkos accused the public library of contributing to an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases by disseminating prurient information.

"Children are not meant to be sexually active," she said.
Read full article ehre: [Source]


Mark LaFlamme said...

Of course, today, the city opted to not pursue the matter. I spoke with JoAn and she sounded disappointed. She clearly meant to use the publicity to advance her views on obscenity. More in Saturday's Sun Journal.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe the shallow-mindedness of this "lady". TO compare herself to Rosa Parks or the American Revolution? It's true the city should waste anymore resources on her. But EVERYONE she comes in contact with should just laugh at her and shake their head with shame at her stupidity. She should focus her idiotic tendencies on something worthwhile.

Anonymous said...

*shouldn't* waste.... sorry, fat fingered.....

Rich said...

Sounds lie she has some mental illness going on and surely has probably been sexually abused as a kid.

Heathencat said...

I just want to bat the woman's air-filled head right off her shoulders. I can't stand people who want to dictate to us what is best for our own children.