Colo. Library Consortium sued for exposing kids to porn

Sunday, October 14, 2018
 | 
Michael F. Haverluck (OneNewsNow.com)

Students on laptopParents are suing the Colorado Library Consortium (CLiC) for allegedly exposing children to graphic pornography and BDSM (Bondage Discipline Sadism and Masochism).

The Thomas More Society – a conservative nonprofit law firm representing outraged parents in the lawsuit – is calling out the taxpayer-funded entity for irresponsibly subjecting youth to detrimental sexual content and is asking the court for an injunction against CLiC’s database provided by the Elton B. Stephens Company [EBSCO].

Protecting kids, exposing corporate deception

Thomas More Society Senior Counsel Matt Heffron says children’s safety should always be put before corporate interests. He contends that EBSCO has infiltrated public schools and harms students with its unbridled sexual content.

“This case is about two things: protecting children and calling out corporate deceit,” Heffron declared in a statement on Wednesday, according to The Christian Post (CP). “EBSCO gets schools to purchase databases by falsely promising the databases are age-appropriate and specifically tailored for elementary, middle and high school children.”

The lawsuit targets EBSCO – a nationwide corporation that provides education databases for students – as well as the CLiC, which is a taxpayer-funded nonprofit corporation that works hand-in-hand with EBSCO.

It is argued that both corporations are fully aware of the indecent material to which they are subjecting young students.

“The law group argues that despite claiming otherwise, both EBSCO and the Colorado Library Consortium are well aware of the graphic pornography that is accessible by children through the databases,” CP reported.

Many parents enraged over the situation – including parent Drew Paterson, whose middle school daughter’s online school account in the Cherry Creek School District (CCSD) was linked to pornography websites – went public to the local daily with their experiences on the database.

“She calls to me, ‘You need to come here right now and see if I’m seeing what I think I’m seeing,'” Paterson told The Denver Post. “It was just appalling – and the thought our middle school daughter could be exposed to that was just appalling.”

He informed the Colorado paper that EBSCO has infiltrated tens of thousands of public and private schools from coast to coast – literally putting millions of school children at risk … mostly unknown to parents.

“EBSCO – based in Birmingham, Alabama – provides databases that contain thousands of scholarly and popular magazine articles for research projects,” The Denver Post informed. “By last count, the company services 55,000 schools nationwide. It also works in Canada, Europe and South America, Drew Paterson said.”

In the lawsuit filed by the Thomas More Society filed Wednesday, Pornography Is Not Education – a parent group led by the Paterson – contends that sexually explicit material pops up on students’ computer screens when their Internet searches have absolutely nothing to do with such inappropriate content.

The group explained how the databases provided by EBSCO include sexually erotic and BDSM stories that students and parents alike inadvertently pull up while doing nonrelated searches.

Some contentions against EBSCO in the Thomas More Society’s complaint are itemized as follows:

  • At all times material, EBSCO has known its research databases specifically targeting schoolchildren have contained – and continue to contain – substantial amounts of easily accessible, sexually explicit material, which is obscene with respect to minors and/or is harmful to minors, as these terms are legally defined.
  • In addition to sexually explicit materials on the EBSCO database itself, the database also contains links outside the database to sex toy shops, to porn sites, to misogynistic materials espousing violence toward women and to “torture-porn” sites, among other sites.
  • EBSCO knowingly provides this obscene and harmful content on a database system that bypasses school Internet filters and private, parent-supplied Internet filters.
  • Unsuspecting school children – believing themselves to be using a safe school research database – easily can stumble into these sexually explicit and obscene materials while searching otherwise benign topics on EBSCO databases.

Porn? … What Porn?

EBSCO spokeswoman Kathleen McEvoy denied the allegations while stressing that for more than seven decades, her corporation has provided content for numerous organizations and public libraries, as well as for libraries for K–12 schools and universities.

“To be clear, EBSCO does not include pornographic titles in its databases, embed pornographic content in its databases, or receive revenue for advertising for any organization,” McEvoy impressed, according to CP. “We are appalled by the tenor of the allegations related to our intent and the inaccuracies of statements clearly made in absence of factual information.”

CLiC Executive Director Jim Duncan refused to comment on the allegations, but attorneys with the Thomas More Society answered McEvoy’s call for facts against EBSCO and CLic by listing in its complaint sexually inappropriate books and video content, while also providing numerous search terms that brought up obscene sexual topics and visuals.

“The lawsuit against EBSCO and the library consortium claims parents have found in their child’s school databases a full-text e-book entitled Pornography in America: A Reference Handbook, which contained live web links to a company hosting video pornography and promoting the pornography industry,” The Denver Post reported. “Parents also found that benign searches for terms such as ‘robotics,’ ‘girl’s stories,’ ‘boy stories,’ ‘grade 7 biology’ and ‘respiration’ retrieved links to ‘lust,’ ‘bondage,’ ‘sex toys’ and ‘sexual positions,’ the lawsuit alleges.”

Porn everywhere ...

The pornographic content on the database was not just restricted to several different Internet searches …

“Parents found more than 100 different instances of advertising for one particular large-scale sex toy store and an alleged teen website that advises children to use plastic wrap to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, according to the lawsuit,” The Denver Post’s Monte Whaley noted.

The disturbed middle school student’s mother, Robin Paterson, mentioned how easily students can stumble upon sexually graphic material using the problematic taxpayer-funded database.

“Children don’t have to be looking for porn,” Robin Paterson insisted in a statement, according to the Denver daily. “They can stumble into it in these EBSCO databases. Imagine how that might affect your grade schooler.”

After realizing that EBSCO was not doing enough to ensure that students were not exposed to pornographic content on its system, the school district cut ties with the corporation and uses another database now.

“In September, the Cherry Creek School District cut ties to EBSCO after working with the company for a year to make sure objectionable content couldn’t be accessed through the database and to tighten search filters,” Whaley announced. “The district said it was not satisfied with EBSCO’s results.”

However, CLiC’s director maintains that his organization’s services are an invaluable and economical resource from which libraries across the nation benefit.

“The consortium, Duncan said, provides a variety of infrastructure services to hundreds of libraries across the state,” Whaley noted. “Public libraries, schools and academic libraries routinely ask the consortium to negotiate cost-saving discounts on their behalf – including subscriptions to web-based educational and research products from vendors and publishers.”

Discounting the advantages offered by CLiC and after complaining to CCSD administrators for two years about the sexually inappropriate content easily and inadvertently tapped into on their daughter’s EBSCO account, Robin Paterson expressed her elation when she caught wind that the district scrapped its EBSCO database, but lamented for other children and parents across the nation still being exposed.

“But EBSCO still is supplying its pornographic databases to schoolchildren in other school districts across Colorado,” Paterson pointed out in a statement provided by the Thomas More Society, according to The Denver Post. “With this lawsuit being filed today, the other shoe has dropped. Now it’s time for EBSCO and the Colorado Library Consortium to do the right thing.”

 

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