Drag queen storytime reader once charged with child sex assault

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston Public Library is apologizing after a man charged for sexually assaulting a child was allowed to entertain children at Drag Queen storytime.

The library said Friday that a review revealed the volunteer never completed a background check before he was allowed to participate in the program.

Albert Alfonso Garza, 32, was last seen reading to children at the Montrose Library in September 2018.

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ABC13 Eyewitness News has learned Garza was charged with child sex assault in 2008. According to records, his victim was a child under the age of 14 years old.

The library said appropriate action is being taken to ensure every participant in every program is verified to ensure similar incidents cannot happen in the future.

Each program is supervised by staff, and all children are accompanied by a parent or guardian, the library said.

Friday, Houston Public Library released this statement:
We were made aware today that one participant for Drag Queen storytime who read at the September 29, 2018, Drag Queen Storytime has a criminal background that should have prevented him from participating in the program.

We assure you that this participant will not be involved in any future HPL programs.

In our review of our process and of this participant, we discovered that we failed to complete a background check as required by our own guidelines. We deeply regret this oversight and the concern this may cause our customers. We realize this is a serious matter.

Every program sponsored by HPL is supervised by HPL staff, and all children are accompanied by a parent and/or guardian. No participant is ever alone with children, and we have not received any complaints about any inappropriate behavior by participants at storytimes.

We are taking the appropriate action to ensure that the status of every participant in every program throughout our system is verified. We will continue to review our process to ensure that this cannot happen again.

Once again, we apologize for our failure to adhere to our own process in this matter and to the hundreds of parents and caregivers who have enjoyed this program with their children.
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