Man accused of burning LGBTQ books from Orange City Public Library pleads not guilty

Tess Hemmila—Staff Writer

Northwest Iowan Paul Dorr has entered a plea of not guilty to burning four Orange City Public Library books containing LGBTQ themes.

Dorr is facing one count of fifth-degree criminal mischief, a simple misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $625 fine. On Jan. 19, Dorr electronically submitted his plea of not guilty to the Sioux County District Court. No further court date has been set at this time.

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On Oct. 19, Dorr posted a half-hour long video to Facebook that captures him throwing the LGBTQ books into a fire around the time of Orange City Pride’s second annual event. In the video, Dorr denounces the LGBTQ community as well as the Orange City Public Library for allowing “shameful and wicked books” in their library.

At the end of the video, Dorr reads sections from and then burns four children’s books containing LGBTQ themes: “Two Boys Kissing,” “Families, Families, Families,” “This Day in June,” and “Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress.”

“Orange City Library, you won’t be peddling this one anymore!” Dorr said in the video as he dropped a book into the fire. “You should all be ashamed of yourselves and repent.”

In an interview with the Sioux City Journal, Dorr said that he would not reimburse the library for the books he destroyed.

According to the Des Moines Register, the Orange City Library has experienced an influx in donations since the book burning video. The library has received over 200 donated books and various GoFundMe pages and Facebook Fundraisers have raised thousands of dollars.

Additionally, The Orange City Public Library has faced plenty of community backlash in the last year. The library first ran into community opposition in Feb. 2018, when locals started a petition to separate books with LGBTQ content from the other titles in circulation. The petition garnered national attention and resulted in immense pressure on the library.

According to the Sioux City Journal, the library responded by altering their classification system to classify books by subjects and subcategories instead of the author’s last name.

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