Incidents of crime and sex raise concern in Atlanta Library System


The Bulldog, poured over two years of Fulton County police department incident reports, highlighting the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System.

What we found? Troubling incidents, from homeless people hiding overnight in staff bathrooms--to an angry patron pulling out a machete.

And nearly a dozen documented reports of sex related crimes.

It was May of 2017, when a man was spotted masturbating in front of the computers.

In June, a man exposed himself on the 3rd floor.

On another day; a man roaming the building with a "visible erection".

And at the southwest Atlanta branch; a man fondling himself in front of patrons.

And it gets worse. Multiple incidents of naked men in the bathrooms of Central Library, including two men in a stall together.

On another occasion, a man and woman, attempting to have sex in the stacks.

And finally, a woman, followed into a fourth floor restroom. Then followed onto the elevator; a man coming on to her sexually.

The majority of these reported incidents taking place at Central Library downtown.

Dr. Gabriel Morley is the director of the library system.

"Every urban library is going to have these challenges. "Anyone can come in."

Currently the library relies on private security. But is it enough. Should Atlanta police be stationed here as an added deterrent?

No says Morley.

"We don't really have issues that would warrant having a police presence."

After seeing these reports we uncovered, that's clearly up for debate.

But, he says, those incidents we highlighted are a small fraction of the nearly 4 million visitors the library system see's each year.

"If you look at the totality of what we are doing, three or four in a month when we're dealing with 300 or so thousand people a month, is a very small number of incidents."

Some would say, however, one incident is too many.

"There is an opportunity---people exploit that to their benefit," adds Morley.

Leon Dolly of Atlanta is a regular at the Central branch.

Without being too graphic, he says he has, "Walked in on sex acts and I had to leave right back out. I walked in on drug use in the bathroom."

Others told us, they had either seen similar things or heard rumors.

Dr. Morley does admit, there is room for improvement. He says renovation plans over the next two years may address security blind spots.

His security chief also told us, once they noticed the trend in lude behavior two years ago, they began working to better address it.

The incidents though, continue.

The punishment for many of these accused offenders--often a one year ban from the library.

In many cases the accused were not arrested or ever charged. Just told to stay away.

Copyright 2018 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Chief Investigative Reporter

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