Man spotted watching porn in Chantilly library

WASHINGTON — Imagine visiting the public library with your sons and discovering the person sitting across from your family is looking at images you consider pornographic.

“Mom, Mom! You wouldn’t believe what he’s looking up,” Jena Passut recalled her 13-year-old exclaiming in the Chantilly Regional Library on Tuesday.

Before complaining to staff, Passut got up and walked behind the man to confirm her oldest son’s concerns and observed the man’s laptop screen displaying what she considered to be “pretty graphic, pornographic, hard-core images.”

Passut’s 11-year-old didn’t see the images, but her oldest was very agitated by them.

“He was like: ‘Why is he here in the library, in a public place? Why doesn’t he just look at this stuff at home?’” Passut recalled.

County library computers have filters that block material that — under Virginia code or law — might be deemed objectionable, such as pornography or gambling websites.

The library system’s code of conduct policy allows staff to address issues such as people who are monopolizing space or being disruptive.

“They asked him to cease viewing that — that he was disallowing others from using the library — and he turned it off,” said Jessica Hudson, library director of the Fairfax County Public Library.

Hudson said staff handled the interaction appropriately.

“If someone is viewing material or acting in a manner that disallows others from using the library to the fullest, than staff will move forward and intervene,” Hudson said.

There’s no law against viewing sexual imagery in public, and pornography is legal. Still, Passut is left shaken by the encounter.

“The library is supposed to be a neutral, safe place — an innocent place, and it just wasn’t,” she said with a sigh.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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