Fired Librarian Responds to County Officials

Lindsay, CA Brenda Biesterfeld was fired from the Tulare County-run library in Lindsay two days after she reported to police a man was looking at child pornography on one of the computers. Now, internet policies in the county libraries could change in the future.

Tulare County officials say they had thirteen reasons to fire Brenda Biesterfeld and were even planning on letting her go several weeks before the incident at the library. Brenda Biesterfeld put the blame right back on the county. She says, "The charges are just absolutely ridiculous! They're false."

Brenda Biesterfeld says the county's list of why they fired her is nothing more than a cover up for her being fired unfairly. But county leaders disagree. They say Biesterfeld was disorganized, mishandled cash and didn't shelve books correctly. The most critical issue, according to county administrator Jean Rousseau, is that Biesterfeld failed to fill out her timesheet properly. Jean Rousseau, says, "When people fill out timesheets that don't reflect the time that they work that's essentially stealing taxpayer dollars and we take that very seriously."

Biesterfeld says it was a mistake that was later corrected and it only happened one time. Biesterfeld says, "Everybody filled out the timesheet for a holiday that I believe we weren't paid for. Everybody put it down as regular time without remembering that it was a holiday. I think it was on February 21st but I don't remember which holiday it was."

Biesterfeld was fired as a libarian in the county-run library in Lindsay two days after she reported to police a man was looking at child pornography on a computer. Her supervisor previously told her not to call police. Biesterfeld says she was fired for going against her boss's orders. The county says Biesterfeld never told her supervisor that it was "child" pornography that she saw.

Brenda Biesterfeld, says "I told her I walked over there and saw little blond-haired boys on the computer screen naked."

The matter has turned into a "he said, she said" of what Biesterfeld did or did not do. Biesterfeld's attorney says the matter could soon head to court if the issues aren't resolved. Steve Crampton, Biesterfeld's attorney, says, "It strikes me as something of a desperation effort to justify -after the fact- the horrible way they treated Brenda Biesterfeld."

Tulare County administrators say they are looking at changing the internet policy for library computers. The current policy is in accordance with federal guidelines. The county may implement specific procedures for when a county employee sees "wrongful acts, " such as child pornography or other crimes.

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