Respect Equality

Missouri man who advocated for LGBTQ+ book ban faces child molestation, pornography charges

Photo of books on a table in a library
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Story at a glance

  • A Missouri parent who supported a push to remove several library books from a Kansas City school district now faces charges of child molestation and furnishing pornographic material to a minor.
  • Ryan Utterback, 29, in the fall had joined other parents in complaining that the LGBTQ+ memoirs “Fun House” and “All Boys Aren’t Blue” were not appropriate for school-aged children.
  • George M. Johnson, the author of “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” in a tweet on Tuesday said they had written their book to help children like the ones allegedly victimized by Utterback.

A Missouri man who recently supported a push to ban books in public school libraries that describe “sexual acts” now faces a felony charge of second-degree child molestation and a misdemeanor charge of fourth-degree domestic assault.

Ryan Utterback, 29, in a separate case faces a misdemeanor charge of furnishing pornographic material or attempting to furnish pornographic material to a minor, ABC-affiliate KMBC-TV reported.

Utterback in the first case is accused of fondling a child less than 12 years old in December 2020, according to KMBC, citing court documents. He is also said to have stuck his finger through a hole in a teenager’s pants to rub their bare leg in September 2020.

In the second case, Utterback reportedly showed pornographic videos to a child beginning when the child was roughly 4 years old.


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Utterback appeared at the Clay County courthouse in Missouri for a hearing on Thursday, and will return for a second hearing in March, according to KMBC.

The allegations against Utterback come after he and several other parents at a North Kansas City School District board meeting in the fall spoke in favor of removing library books they complained were inappropriate and sexually explicit.

“I understand their struggles and it’s not lost on me. But again those conversations are to be had at home. Only I have their intimate understanding as to what is and isn’t appreciated for my children,” Utterback told KMBC at the time.

The school district in October pulled two books from school libraries, but quickly returned them following public outcry and a warning from the ACLU.

The graphic novel “Fun Home” by cartoonist Alison Bechdel, developer of the “Bechdel Test,” was one of the books pulled from library shelves. It chronicles Bechdel’s dysfunctional childhood in rural Pennsylvania, exploring, among other things, her gender identity and sexual orientation.

The second book, George M. Johnson’s “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” is a collection of essays about childhood and adolescence told through the lens of a queer Black person.

Content that could be considered “sexually explicit” appears briefly in two chapters in Johnson’s book of more than 300 pages, and critics often cite Johnson’s retelling of their first consensual sexual experience, when they were 20 years old, as a reason to ban Johnson’s memoir.

“My one book is not what is going to harm your child. It is the fact that you are not allowing them to understand the world that they live in that is ultimately going to harm your child,” they told the Advocate in November.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Johnson, who uses they/them pronouns, said books like theirs were written to help children like the ones reportedly victimized by Utterback. Johnson in their memoir reveals they were victimized several times.

“A man who said All Boys Aren’t Blue was pornographic and inappropriate for his kids at a school board meeting has been charged with sexually abusing kids and giving porn to a minor,” Johnson wrote. “Our books TEACH & give resources to kids about predators like him.”


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