A former school librarian accused of vandalizing libraries by spray-painting the “groomer” anti-LGBTQ+ slur is now facing charges of possessing child pornography as well.
Charles Sutherland of Takoma Park, Md., was arrested last June and charged with malicious destruction of property and multiple hate crimes in connection with vandalism at two public libraries in Maryland’s Prince George’s County, TV station WUSA reports. Libraries in the towns of Greenbelt and New Carrolton were defaced with “groomer” in spray paint on their entrances early in June, during nearby Washington, D.C.’s Capital Pride Week. The Greenbelt library had hosted a Pride event featuring a drag performer shortly before the vandalism occurred.
The slur is often used against LGBTQ+ people. Right-wing forces claim the community is grooming children for sexual abuse.
In an interview with police last year, authorities say he “made several comments expressing his disdain for the LGBTQ Community and the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System while expressing no remorse for what he did,” according to The Washington Post.
Police said Sutherland confessed to being behind the vandalism, according to the station. He also agreed to a search of his home, which is in neighboring Montgomery County.
In the search, officers discovered he had a child-size doll, several smaller dolls, and diapers at his home, even though he has no children, nieces, or nephews, WUSA reports, citing a charging document. The document says he told police he had child porn on his computer, and in January forensics investigators found seven files of it. He now will face misdemeanor charges of possessing child porn.
Sutherland had been a librarian at Northview Elementary School in Bowie, Md. He was placed on administrative leave when he was arrested in June.
He is scheduled to be tried in Montgomery County in April on the child porn charges, radio station WTOP reports. In August, he is set to go to trial in Prince George’s County on the property destruction and hate-crimes charges.
At the time of the vandalism, a representative of the Prince George's County Memorial Library System said the system would continue to be inclusive of LGBTQ+ people. “We are really here to make sure that the message comes across clear that our libraries are here for the LGBTQ+ communities, and that will not be changing, and we are steadfast in that support,” spokesman Nick Brown told WUSA.