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

1 year 2 months 5 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 - Tiger fans, the Border War is back. Missouri and Kansas have agreed to play... More >>
2 hours ago Monday, October 21 2019 Oct 21, 2019 Monday, October 21, 2019 8:28:00 PM CDT October 21, 2019 in News
LOUISIANA, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Transportation has apologized for posting an edited photo that cropped out a... More >>
3 hours ago Monday, October 21 2019 Oct 21, 2019 Monday, October 21, 2019 7:14:00 PM CDT October 21, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - A vote by the Columbia City Council Monday night will decide if school resource officers have another job... More >>
4 hours ago Monday, October 21 2019 Oct 21, 2019 Monday, October 21, 2019 6:34:00 PM CDT October 21, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — An attorney for a Missouri group pushing to expand access to voting argued in... More >>
6 hours ago Monday, October 21 2019 Oct 21, 2019 Monday, October 21, 2019 4:19:00 PM CDT October 21, 2019 in News
CALIFORNIA — California police chief Shane Templeton has announced he will resign from his position on October 31. This... More >>
7 hours ago Monday, October 21 2019 Oct 21, 2019 Monday, October 21, 2019 3:42:00 PM CDT October 21, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Boone Hospital Center was recognized Monday for a fourth consecutive Magnet® recognition. Magnet is the highest honor... More >>
7 hours ago Monday, October 21 2019 Oct 21, 2019 Monday, October 21, 2019 2:52:00 PM CDT October 21, 2019 in News
BOONE COUNTY - The Boone County Sheriff's Department said Monday people should be wary of someone spoofing the department's main... More >>
8 hours ago Monday, October 21 2019 Oct 21, 2019 Monday, October 21, 2019 2:22:00 PM CDT October 21, 2019 in News
FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, Ill. — A clinic quietly constructed in southern Illinois to meet demand for abortion services by residents... More >>
10 hours ago Monday, October 21 2019 Oct 21, 2019 Monday, October 21, 2019 12:09:00 PM CDT October 21, 2019 in News
FULTON - U.S. Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer is pushing for legislation that could offer more mobile mammogram services to rural communities... More >>
12 hours ago Monday, October 21 2019 Oct 21, 2019 Monday, October 21, 2019 10:34:00 AM CDT October 21, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Prosecutors filed formal charges against Cameron White, 19, on Monday, charging him with second-degree murder and armed criminal... More >>
12 hours ago Monday, October 21 2019 Oct 21, 2019 Monday, October 21, 2019 10:18:00 AM CDT October 21, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY- According to Missouri KidsFirst, almost one in ten kids will be sexually abused by the time they are... More >>
15 hours ago Monday, October 21 2019 Oct 21, 2019 Monday, October 21, 2019 7:37:00 AM CDT October 21, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY — Attorney General Eric Schmitt is set to host four senior safety presentations in October. The presentations,... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, October 20 2019 Oct 20, 2019 Sunday, October 20, 2019 8:43:00 PM CDT October 20, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - More than 600 people and 11 sponsors gathered in Cosmo Park for the annual Walk to End Alzheimer's... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, October 20 2019 Oct 20, 2019 Sunday, October 20, 2019 4:53:00 PM CDT October 20, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — David Cover, a co-pastor at The Crossing, addressed the controversy over last week's sermon by fellow co-paster... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, October 20 2019 Oct 20, 2019 Sunday, October 20, 2019 4:03:00 PM CDT October 20, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — Columbia police arrested a man on multiple charges after the shooting of a 13-year-old boy Saturday night. ... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, October 20 2019 Oct 20, 2019 Sunday, October 20, 2019 1:15:00 PM CDT October 20, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - One person was transported to the hospital in relation to a weapons offense Sunday morning, according to... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, October 20 2019 Oct 20, 2019 Sunday, October 20, 2019 11:27:00 AM CDT October 20, 2019 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Children in St. Louis have been the victim of homicides at 10 times the national rate... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, October 19 2019 Oct 19, 2019 Saturday, October 19, 2019 9:34:54 PM CDT October 19, 2019 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says he is reversing his plan to hold the next Group of Seven world... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, October 19 2019 Oct 19, 2019 Saturday, October 19, 2019 9:19:49 PM CDT October 19, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 53°
11pm 51°
12am 50°
1am 49°
2am 48°