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March 15, 2019

'Parents’ Group Ends Lawsuit Alleging School Libraries Push Porn

In October, a Cherry Creek, Colorado, “parents” group calling itself  “Pornography is Not Education” (PINE) filed a lawsuit that charged a national educational database firm as well as a Colorado school library group with “knowingly providing sexually explicit and obscene materials to school children.”  But late last month, PINE and the right-wing “public interest” law firm representing the parents, The Thomas More Society, pulled their lawsuit, saying in essence that they were afraid they would lose. In a statement, the More firm said that the parents feared being forced to pay legal fees for the defendants, the database company EBSCO and the Colorado Library Consortium, in the event of a legal defeat, according to The Denver Post.  The parents group agreed to dismiss the lawsuit “with prejudice,” which means that they give up the right to sue again over the same allegations. The library consortium said it had already spent $35,000 defending the lawsuit, according to The Post, and that pressure from the parents group caused it to lose access to “several thousand” educational resources in the EBSCO database. “Money and time spent on [the consortium’s] legal defense in this frivolous lawsuit could have been better used to support schools, libraries and our communities,” Consortium Executive Director Jim Duncan said, in a written statement. Earlier, Carol Smith, president of the Colorado Association of Libraries, accused the parents group of waging “a personal crusade to impose one particular worldview upon the entire community, and the targets of their campaign extend well beyond… Colorado,” The Post reported.  The lawsuit had claimed that schoolkids who “innocently” clicked on links in the EBSCO database were taken to sites displaying “bondage” and other “pornographic” material. But EBSCO denied those allegations. “We are appalled by the tenor of the allegations related to our intent and the inaccuracies to statements clearly made in absence of factual information,” the company said in a statement.  “Their true aim is to censor all electronic materials from school and public libraries,” said Smith. The civil liberties group, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, said in a statement that the true goal of the PINE lawsuit was to impose censorship by having “figured out a way to financially punish those that stand up and fight for freedom of information." "Opponents of free speech have decided that they can chill speech without actually censoring anything, just by making the consequences of coming across their radar so expensive, that many institutions will not purchase databases like EBSCO in the future," CBDLF said. Photo by Bradipo10/Wikimedia Commons Public Domain 

 
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