Houston, TX – The Houston Public Library has issued an apology for allowing a registered sex offender to read books to children at an event hosted by drag queens.
“If they had done their job and due diligence, they might have said ‘Wait – maybe it’s not a good idea to have a sex offender who at 200 pounds and 5-foot-11 assaulted an 8-year-old boy,” Houston MassResistance co-founder Tracy Shannon said.
In 2009, Garza was convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a child, and was sentenced to only five years on probation, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Shannon’s anti-LGBTQ group began digging into Garza’s background as part of it’s ongoing effort to bring an end to Drag Queen Storytime.
"We might not all agree that having adult entertainers is the right way to entertain young children or promote literacy, diversity and acceptance and inclusion," Shannon said. "But we can all agree that it's inappropriate to have a…sex offender entertaining children at the library."
In a public statement on Friday, the library admitted that it “failed to complete a background check as required by our own guidelines,” and acknowledged that Garza “has a criminal background that should have prevented him from participating in the program.”
The library noted that parents, guardians, and library personnel were with the children at all times during Drag Queen Storytime.
“No participant is ever alone with children, and we have not received any complaints about any inappropriate behavior by participants at storytimes,” the statement read.
Hundreds of people have attended the program with their children in the past.
"We assure you that this participant will not be involved in any future HPL programs," the library added. "We deeply regret this oversight and the concern this may cause our customers.”
The library said it is taking action to “ensure that the status of every participant in every program throughout our system is verified.”
“We will continue to review our process to ensure that this cannot happen again,” the statement read.