Man who worked to ban Black LGBTQ book from schools charged with child molestation 

Ryan Utterback also faces a misdemeanor charge of fourth-degree domestic assault and a misdemeanor charge of furnishing pornographic material.

Loading the player...

A 29-year-old father from Gladstone, Missouri, who aggressively fought to ban LGBTQ-themed books from school libraries in the Show-Me State, has been charged with second-degree child molestation. 

According to The New York Daily News, Ryan Utterback is also facing a misdemeanor charge of fourth-degree domestic assault and a misdemeanor charge of furnishing pornographic material or attempting to furnish to a minor in a separate case. 

Ryan Utterback, a Missouri dad who fought to ban LGBTQ-themed books from its libraries, has been charged with child molestation. (Photo: Screenshot/KMNC 9)

At a fall school board meeting, Utterback held up enlarged copies of Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel, an award-winning graphic novel adapted into a Tony Award-winning Broadway musical in 2015. Utterback displayed the pages while another parent spoke out against the book and another — All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson. 

According to the report, the books were temporarily removed from four high schools in North Kansas City in October 2021 as a result of the effort, but they have been returned after students spoke against the ban. 

Utterback defended his stance to a local television station late last year, 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.”

One of the charges against Utterback includes the fondling of a child younger than 12. Another alleges the man used his cellphone to show pornographic images to a four-year-old child. 

Many LGBTQ books have joined those about Black history on the long list of books conservatives want to see banned from schools. 

This Book Is Gay and Understanding Gender by Juno Dawson appeared on the book roster that Texas lawmaker Matt Krause would like to see removed from schools — as well as books by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jeffrey Eugenides, and even mystery writer James Patterson, according to The Guardian

As previously reported, a school board in Central York, Pennsylvania, recently reversed its decision to ban books written by authors of color after protests from students, parents and teachers, plus a growing social media backlash. 

“We speak and listen to parents and community members to better understand and address concerns,” said board member Jodi Grothe prior to the vote, according to The York Dispatch. “We have heard you.”

Dozens of school districts around the nation have banned the teaching of critical race theory and have lumped in books about Black history and LGBTQ issues in the national debate. 

TheGrio is now on your TV via Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku, and Android TV. Also, please download theGrio mobile apps today!

Loading the player...