On Saturday, June 23, two girls aged 6 and 9 were approached and touched inappropriately at Flushing Library. Police arrested suspect Joel Grubert, a Williamsburg resident. Grubert is a Level 3 sex offender who was convicted of sexual crimes back in 2004.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. are calling for a new state law to bar sex offenders from children’s reading rooms in libraries. They want criminal charges for sex offenders who enter children’s reading rooms.
“It is common sense that we keep sexual predators away from areas where young kids congregate,” said Vallone.
According to Joanne King, director of Communications for the Queens Library, adults are not allowed into children’s reading rooms without a child. Librarians and security will ask adults to leave if they see any suspicious activity.
"Queens Library is supportive of legislative efforts to keep libraries safe and peaceful community spaces to read, relax and learn,” said Thomas Galante, president and CEO of queens Library, in a statement. “It is essential that our children feel comfortable in visiting public libraries for assistance with schoolwork and lifelong learning."
State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr. is going one step further, calling for a bill that will ban sex offenders from entering libraries at all.
“One of the bills I supported bars sex offenders who are released on parole or probation from entering public libraries,” he said. “While the recent offender in Queens had apparently fulfilled the requirements of his sentence, it is still quite clear that he shouldn’t be around children.”