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

2 years 1 month 1 week 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
NEW DELHI (AP) — The worldwide death toll from the coronavirus has eclipsed 1 million. The milestone, recorded by Johns... More >>
19 hours ago Monday, September 28 2020 Sep 28, 2020 Monday, September 28, 2020 7:58:50 PM CDT September 28, 2020 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA — The City of Columbia will resume utility disconnections on Monday, Oct. 5. This gives customers one week to... More >>
20 hours ago Monday, September 28 2020 Sep 28, 2020 Monday, September 28, 2020 7:38:00 PM CDT September 28, 2020 in News
CAMDEN COUNTY, Mo. (KY3) - A woman faces criminal charges in a Camden County woman’s overdose death last year. ... More >>
21 hours ago Monday, September 28 2020 Sep 28, 2020 Monday, September 28, 2020 6:28:58 PM CDT September 28, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA— Each week the White House Coronavirus Task Force releases a detailed report, regarding the status and recommendations to states... More >>
21 hours ago Monday, September 28 2020 Sep 28, 2020 Monday, September 28, 2020 6:00:00 PM CDT September 28, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA- UPDATE 6:30 P.M: CPS Athletic Director David Egan confirmed Battle will play at Moberly Friday night at 7 p.m.... More >>
21 hours ago Monday, September 28 2020 Sep 28, 2020 Monday, September 28, 2020 6:00:00 PM CDT September 28, 2020 in News
OSAGE COUNTY— Three people were rescued from the Osage River on Saturday after their pontoon boat got stuck in the... More >>
21 hours ago Monday, September 28 2020 Sep 28, 2020 Monday, September 28, 2020 5:51:00 PM CDT September 28, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A New York Times report shows President Donald Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016... More >>
22 hours ago Monday, September 28 2020 Sep 28, 2020 Monday, September 28, 2020 5:11:00 PM CDT September 28, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA- Boone County deputies are currently investigating a shots fired incident that occurred on Mauller Road Monday afternoon. The... More >>
23 hours ago Monday, September 28 2020 Sep 28, 2020 Monday, September 28, 2020 4:33:00 PM CDT September 28, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Two Whaley's Pharmacy locations will host drive-thru flu shot clinics in the upcoming weeks. The first... More >>
1 day ago Monday, September 28 2020 Sep 28, 2020 Monday, September 28, 2020 3:47:00 PM CDT September 28, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY- Governor Parson announced Missouri expanded its COVID-19 dashboards Monday afternoon. The new dashboards provide information about different... More >>
1 day ago Monday, September 28 2020 Sep 28, 2020 Monday, September 28, 2020 3:22:00 PM CDT September 28, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA- The University of Missouri Police Department responded to a report of a 'threatening person with a knife' at Lee... More >>
1 day ago Monday, September 28 2020 Sep 28, 2020 Monday, September 28, 2020 2:03:00 PM CDT September 28, 2020 in News
(CNN) -- Millions of Americans will vote by mail or in person for the next president of the US. At... More >>
1 day ago Monday, September 28 2020 Sep 28, 2020 Monday, September 28, 2020 12:38:43 PM CDT September 28, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Fire Department is reducing their interaction with patients and other responders to protect everyone from COVID-19... More >>
1 day ago Monday, September 28 2020 Sep 28, 2020 Monday, September 28, 2020 11:27:00 AM CDT September 28, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Governor Mike Parson ordered the Missouri State Capitol dome and the Missouri Governor's Mansion to shine red... More >>
1 day ago Monday, September 28 2020 Sep 28, 2020 Monday, September 28, 2020 11:15:00 AM CDT September 28, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA- Columbia Police responded to four separate reports of shots fired in the area of Eastwood Drive and Clark Lane... More >>
1 day ago Monday, September 28 2020 Sep 28, 2020 Monday, September 28, 2020 10:59:00 AM CDT September 28, 2020 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Prosecutors say a 32-year-old Kansas City man who was shot by a police officer... More >>
1 day ago Monday, September 28 2020 Sep 28, 2020 Monday, September 28, 2020 10:53:06 AM CDT September 28, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 continues to spread, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about impacts in the community. Previous coverage: ... More >>
1 day ago Monday, September 28 2020 Sep 28, 2020 Monday, September 28, 2020 9:00:00 AM CDT September 28, 2020 in News
MEXICO - A food trailer was destroyed and two houses were damaged after a trailer caught fire in a Mexico... More >>
1 day ago Monday, September 28 2020 Sep 28, 2020 Monday, September 28, 2020 8:49:00 AM CDT September 28, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 66°
4pm 65°
5pm 65°
6pm 63°
7pm 60°