Free porn prompts sex acts at libraries
August 6, 2009 - 9:14AM
Men are masturbating at public library computer terminals on the Sunshine Coast after using them to download hardcore pornography, it has been revealed.
The Sunshine Regional Council does not employ internet filtering in any of its nine local libraries, where several people have been asked to leave after being caught accessing pornography and performing lewd acts in recent weeks.
Last month, an elderly man was seen downloading hardcore porn in front of children at Maroochydoore public library, and in December last year a 34-year-old man was jailed for two years for possessing child abuse material he had downloaded on public computers in the same venue.
But local councillor Anna Grosskreutz said the situation had escalated in recent weeks, with a the council's Director of Library Services reporting a number of cases of lewd behaviour.
"These people were seen to be masturbating in our public libraries. This behaviour has been verified," Cr Grosskreutz told brisbanetimes.com.au.
"There are librarians having to ask people to leave, which puts them in an extremely awkward position, especially as most of the staff at our libraries are female.
"I would say there were less than a dozen cases that I am aware of."
She said she did not believe any of the cases had been reported to police or had been witnessed by children.
"Staff don't have protocols for this sort of thing. They've just been saying to these people `get out of the library' but really they should be calling someone.
"This is obviously a very serious matter, because public libraries are family-friendly places with lots of young people around. We don't want them exposed to this sort of lewd behaviour, which is obviously a secondary behaviour to the (downloading of) pornography."
Cr Grosskreutz will today present a petition containing more than 3000 signatures from parents and library users calling on the Sunshine Regional Council to install internet filtering software, which is used on computers in the council's own headquarters.
A special taskforce has also been convened and library staff will meet with IT specialists and councillors in a fortnight to discuss a range of options, including registration to use library computers, swipe card access, monitoring and a possible total internet ban.
She would not say if the council would consider blocking internet access at its public libraries until the problem was resolved.
"I think the council has probably acted too slowly on this issue," she said.
"The pressure is on us to do something about it because we do not want to be attracting people to our public libraries for this purpose."http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensl ... -eago.html