UPDATE: Library officials "dismayed" after sex offender accused of filming patrons

1 month 3 days 20 hours ago Tuesday, August 21 2018 Aug 21, 2018 Tuesday, August 21, 2018 2:33:00 PM CDT August 21, 2018 in News
By: Eric Graves, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - Prosecutors charged a man with sexual misconduct on Sunday after patrons at the Columbia Public Library said he was acting suspiciously.

The executive director of the library, Margaret Conroy, said a patron approached library staff and said his wife noticed a man, now identified as James Tharp, appeared to be filming people in the children's area.

Conroy said the staffer told the security guard and the guard identified Tharp.

The officer asked for and got permission to look at Tharp's phone. On it, he saw a video in which a woman at her desk and Tharp's genitals were both in frame. Tharp then reportedly told the officer he was videotaping girls.

Conroy said she is dismayed this happened at the library, but she can't totally control what happens in the library.

“We always try to have a good eye out, we can’t prevent things like this from happening entirely," Conroy said.

She said the security staff is experienced.

“We use off-duty cops for our security, we have guards on duty the entire time the library is open,” she said.

Conroy said her staff have all been trained to spot someone with suspicious behavior.

One concerned mother said she wishes libraries could ban sex offenders.

“As a mother, I would yes, I would like that, but I know it’s not possible to make that happen every place where there are kids,” Rachel Cassel said.

Cassel said she's never felt unsafe at the library, but now she'll be keeping even closer watch on her kids.

“You hear these stories and it does make you want pay a little bit more attention," she said.

Despite the incident, Cassel doesn't think this is the library's fault.

"I don't think it reflects badly on the library, the fact that we have an off duty cop is a good thing," she said.

Tharp is a registered sex offender. In July 2017, he pleaded guilty to exposing himself at the St. Louis Zoo, and in June 2018 he pleaded guilty in Morgan County to failing to register as a sex offender.

Tharp is also on probation for domestic violence and arson. In 2013, he was arrested after he set fire to a home while two people were inside.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Friends and loved ones of MU student Perri A. Jones mourned the loss of Jones at a vigil... More >>
1 hour ago Monday, September 24 2018 Sep 24, 2018 Monday, September 24, 2018 8:14:00 PM CDT September 24, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - More church volunteers are heading to North Carolina Monday night to help communities deal with Hurricane Florence.... More >>
2 hours ago Monday, September 24 2018 Sep 24, 2018 Monday, September 24, 2018 6:50:00 PM CDT September 24, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The Missouri Supreme Court won't reconsider a ruling allowing voters to decide on a ballot measure... More >>
4 hours ago Monday, September 24 2018 Sep 24, 2018 Monday, September 24, 2018 5:33:41 PM CDT September 24, 2018 in News
MILLER COUNTY - Officials say they arrested a suspect in Chicago for the June murder of Tyler J. Worthington. ... More >>
4 hours ago Monday, September 24 2018 Sep 24, 2018 Monday, September 24, 2018 5:28:00 PM CDT September 24, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley is defending his lawsuit against the operators of a duck boat... More >>
5 hours ago Monday, September 24 2018 Sep 24, 2018 Monday, September 24, 2018 4:30:25 PM CDT September 24, 2018 in News
BOONVILLE - Police are searching for a man who stole gasoline, according to a Facebook post Monday morning. Boonville... More >>
5 hours ago Monday, September 24 2018 Sep 24, 2018 Monday, September 24, 2018 4:00:00 PM CDT September 24, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Border security and immigration continue to be huge issues for Missouri's November senate race between Sen. Claire McCaskill,... More >>
5 hours ago Monday, September 24 2018 Sep 24, 2018 Monday, September 24, 2018 4:00:00 PM CDT September 24, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The U.S. attorney's office says a former central Missouri tax collector has pleaded guilty to embezzling... More >>
6 hours ago Monday, September 24 2018 Sep 24, 2018 Monday, September 24, 2018 3:38:00 PM CDT September 24, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY - The FBI released its annual Crime in the United States report Monday, and the numbers showed violent... More >>
6 hours ago Monday, September 24 2018 Sep 24, 2018 Monday, September 24, 2018 3:32:00 PM CDT September 24, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A former Kansas priest still holds medical licenses in Kansas and Missouri despite being defrocked... More >>
6 hours ago Monday, September 24 2018 Sep 24, 2018 Monday, September 24, 2018 3:29:15 PM CDT September 24, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A law requiring a photo ID to vote is at the center of a lawsuit beginning Monday... More >>
6 hours ago Monday, September 24 2018 Sep 24, 2018 Monday, September 24, 2018 2:53:00 PM CDT September 24, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A child sex investigation that started in Boone County has led to a man pleading guilty to... More >>
6 hours ago Monday, September 24 2018 Sep 24, 2018 Monday, September 24, 2018 2:51:00 PM CDT September 24, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A federal grand jury added charges in the case against a Columbia man accused of trying to... More >>
7 hours ago Monday, September 24 2018 Sep 24, 2018 Monday, September 24, 2018 2:21:00 PM CDT September 24, 2018 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein headed to the White House on Monday expecting to be fired by... More >>
11 hours ago Monday, September 24 2018 Sep 24, 2018 Monday, September 24, 2018 10:30:53 AM CDT September 24, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis police are investigating a rash of six killings over a two-day period, with five... More >>
13 hours ago Monday, September 24 2018 Sep 24, 2018 Monday, September 24, 2018 8:17:00 AM CDT September 24, 2018 in News
CASSVILLE (AP) — A $1.9 million renovation of a southwestern Missouri trout hatchery won't interfere with the tens of thousands... More >>
15 hours ago Monday, September 24 2018 Sep 24, 2018 Monday, September 24, 2018 6:19:00 AM CDT September 24, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Ameren Missouri announced a rate decrease for electric starting Monday. The Missouri Public Service Commission approved... More >>
19 hours ago Monday, September 24 2018 Sep 24, 2018 Monday, September 24, 2018 2:28:00 AM CDT September 24, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Missouri Task Force 1 is in Kinston, North Carolina waiting for its next mission. The task force's... More >>
23 hours ago Sunday, September 23 2018 Sep 23, 2018 Sunday, September 23, 2018 9:58:00 PM CDT September 23, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 71°
10pm 71°
11pm 70°
12am 71°
1am 70°