The viewing of pornography on the Internet by adults and minors is common in many of the country's public libraries, according to a nationwide survey by an Oregon librarian.More than 2,000 documented incidents of library patrons accessing pornography, obscenity and child pornography were found in a six-month investigation, author David Burt said in his recently released report for the Family Research Council (FRC). The results were announced at a news conference sponsored by FRC, a Washington-based, pro-family, public-policy organization.The problem in America's libraries may be much worse than these figures indicate, Burt said in the report. Although nearly all public library systems in the country were contacted with Freedom of Information Act requests, only 29 percent responded to Burt's survey. Based on the responses, plus his analysis of computer log files from three urban libraries that uncovered thousands of unreported incidents, the separate incidents of library patrons viewing pornography on the Internet could total from 400,000 to 2 million a year, Burt estimated.The documented incidents "are just the tip of the iceberg," Burt said in a prepared statement.That documentation, according to the report, included the following types of incidents witnessed by librarians:

  • Adults trading in child pornography.
  • Adults teaching children how to access pornography.
  • Adults and minors masturbating at Internet terminals.

The report also cites 472 instances of children accessing pornography and 106 cases of adults exposing children to porn. More than 170 of the incidents found by Burt described criminal offenses such as public masturbation and accessing obscenity or child pornography, but the police were notified in only six of these ...

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