18 April, 2007

Wisconsin Law Hinders Lewd Library Case

iWon News:
"A law protecting library records' confidentiality has hamstrung officials pursuing a man who reportedly masturbated among the books at the Neenah Public Library earlier this month. City Attorney James Godlewski said the library can't turn a surveillance video of the man over to police without a court order.

'That is state law,' Godlewski said Monday. 'The library is merely following what state law says.'

The Wisconsin attorney general's office said in a Nov. 27 opinion that library surveillance videos fall under the state's public library records confidentiality law. The law prevents libraries from releasing records that indicate a library user's identity unless someone's life or safety is at risk.

A library patron saw the April 2 incident and reported it to a reference librarian, who called police. But the suspect left before he was identified. He was described as 25 to 30 years old, 5 feet, 10 inches tall and about 200 pounds with short blond or brown hair."

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