A parent in the Kansas City area who fought last year to ban LGBTQ-themed books from school libraries is now facing accusations of child molestation.
Ryan Utterback, a 29-year-old father from the city of Gladstone, a northern suburb of Kansas City, Missouri, has been arrested and charged with felony second-degree child molestation after a police investigation into his alleged conduct. According to local news reports, Utterback is also facing two other misdemeanor charges in separate cases, as well: fourth-degree domestic assault, and furnishing or attempting to furnish pornographic material to a minor.
Local news reports allege that Utterback allegedly fondled “a child younger than 12” in a December 2020 incident. A probable cause statement alleges that the man also reportedly “stuck his finger through a ripped hole in a teenager’s jeans” in a separate event, and proceeded to “rub the teenager’s leg.” And in another separate incident, court docs claim Utterback allegedly used his cell phone to show pornographic videos to a 4-year-old child, as well.
What the f**k?!?!
Per KMBC-TV, Utterback first appeared at the Clay County Courthouse on Thursday for a preliminary hearing on the charges. He is next expected to be back in court on March 10.
While these charges would be sickening in any situation, Utterback’s recent public past makes them all the more eyebrow-raising. As the TV news outlet reports, the father was very active in school board meetings last year where he advocated for the banning of several books featuring LGBTQ-related content from school libraries around the North Kansas City area.
The books included several critically-acclaimed titles, including author George M. Johnson‘s essay collection All Boys Aren’t Blue about growing up Black and queer, and Alison Bechdel‘s graphic novel Fun Home, which was adapted into a Tony Award-winning Broadway musical in 2015.
In November of last year, Utterback spoke to KMBC-TV about his vocal action arguing that those books ought to be removed from school libraries, saying:
“You know, I definitely understand their struggles. It’s not lost on me. Those conversations are to be had at home and only I have the intimate understanding of what is and isn’t appropriate for my children.”
Obviously, considering the accusations coming out against him now, Utterback’s “only I have the intimate understanding of what is and isn’t appropriate for my children” line is stomach-turning. And so despicable!
Following last year’s public comments, including Utterback’s advocacy, the aforementioned books were temporarily removed from high schools in the area. Thankfully, the New York Daily News reports those books have since returned to the shelves.
Here is more on the accusations against Utterback:
Let’s just hope the reported victims here can find some kind of justice and closure in time.
[Image via KMBC-TV/YouTube]