Missouri parent who tried to ban books for being too sexually explicit faces molestation charges
Walter Einenkel, Daily Kos Staff – February 03, 2022
A Missouri father who supported the banning of books—and even assisted in a book-banning presentation in front of a school board this past October—has been accused of a “felony charge of second-degree child molestation and a misdemeanor charge of fourth-degree domestic assault,” according to KMBC 9. Ryan Utterback, 29, faces a separate case that includes the “misdemeanor charge of furnishing pornographic material or attempting to furnish to a minor.”
The allegations against Utterback are pretty gnarly, and come just a couple of months after he held blown-up pages from the award-winning graphic novel Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic that depicts author Alison Bechdel’s childhood growing up secretly lesbian, and her strained relationship with her father (and her discovery, shortly before his death, that he was secretly gay). Utterback stood by while Northland Parent Association president Jay Richmond spoke in front of the Northern Kansas City District Board of Education on Oct. 26, 2021. Reading excerpts from a series of LGBTQ-positive books, Richmond demanded to know why the school board was “promoting” these allegedly sexually explicit LGBTQ stories in school libraries.
A little less than a month later, a number of students spoke in front of the Northern Kansas City District Board of Education to defend the books against parents who wanted them banned. At the time, Utterback attended and spoke with KMBC 9 afterward, telling the news outlet, “I understand their struggles and it’s not lost on me. But again those conversations are to be had at home, Only I have the intimate understanding as to what is and isn’t appropriate for my children.”
Remember that last quote.
According to the allegations against Utterback, while he was doing this he was also maybe not protecting the children he was around—from him. The Kansas City Star reports that back on Christmas 2020, at a family event, Utterback allegedly laid down and fondled a 12-year-old girl, then sat up and “grabbed her and rubbed her body against his.”
In another incident, Utterback and a 14-year-old girl went to get tacos together. At some point during the ride to get food, Utterback reportedly stuck his finger inside of a hole in the girl’s jeans and began rubbing her skin. The Star says the report against Utterback quotes the court documents saying “it felt uncomfortable and that she didn’t like it at all.”
The final “probable cause statement” alleges that his girlfriend’s daughter says Utterback frequently showed her pornographic videos on his phone, starting when she was 4 years old. The Courier Tribune puts her age at 6 years old now, so these allegations go back a couple of years.
On one occasion, Utterback showed her videos of him and her mom “naked having sex,” the probable cause statement said.
The Courier Tribune adds that the first of the pronographic video allegations seem to have been made in August of 2021:
“(The child) further stated that while Utterback was at (the victim’s) house, he would be sitting on the toilet going to the bathroom and he would call (the child) into the bathroom to get him items from within the bathroom,” reads the probable cause statement in that case. “While (the child) was in the bathroom with Utterback, (the child) was shown videos of individuals engaged in sex acts by Utterback from his phone.”
Kansas City LGBTQ advocate Justice Horn, who attended the school board meeting where Utterback and Richmond spoke, told NBC News, “The moral of this story is that book bans do not protect children. Moreover, the people pushing book bans are not protecting children, and every lawmaker should take note.”
Utterback is due in court on March 10.
You can watch Utterback and his fellow aghast parent present their reasons why certain books need to be banned at around the 19-minute mark in the video below.https://www.youtube.com/embed/nSbIljoCjoc?enablejsapi=1
You can watch some of the students responses to book banning, a month later, below.https://www.youtube.com/embed/I8hGg2lVHNI?enablejsapi=1