Judge Finds Probable Cause Two Smutty Books Are Obscene For Minors

by Kerry Dougherty

Get ready. Any minute now, local lefties will have their hair on fire. They’ll be screaming about book banning and censorship.

They will be wrong.

Circuit Court Judge Pamela Baskerville’s finding Wednesday that there is probable cause that two books available in Virginia Beach Public Schools are “obscene for unrestricted viewing by minors” hardly amounts to book banning. It means children shouldn’t have access to the novels without parental approval.

Baskerville is a retired judge from Petersburg who was brought in to hear the case after Virginia Beach Circuit Court judges recused themselves.

The books in question, “Gender Queer, A Memoir,” by Maia Kobabe and, “A Court of Mist and Fury,” by Sarah J. Maas are sexually explicit and entirely inappropriate for young kids. Anyone who’s glanced at them can see that.

The fact that a judge agrees is a win.

Just ask Delegate Tim Anderson, R-Virginia Beach, the lawyer who asked the court to declare the two books obscene for minors on behalf of his client, Tommy Altman, a small business owner who’s running in the 2nd District Congressional Republican primary next month.

“This is a big deal,” Anderson told me yesterday. “Smut is being allowed in schools and parents have nothing to say about it.”

“The question is, how did these books get into the schools to begin with?” he asked. Good question.

“Gender Queer” is a graphic novel. It’s been in the news and chances are you’ve seen some of the explicit drawings in this book. Virginia Beach schools this week decided to remove it from library shelves after a panel of school board members declared it “pervasively vulgar.”

“A Court of Mist and Fury,” is a lesser-known tome. It’s described on Amazon as a “young adult fantasy” but a lengthy excerpt, on Tim Anderson’s Facebook page, reveals a shockingly raw description of intercourse between a man and a woman. Hardly new ground until you realize that Anderson says this book is on the shelves at Lynnhaven Middle School.

That means it’s accessible to grades 6-8.

One reviewer on Amazon had this to say about the Maas book: “This book is rated for grade 10 and up but let me tell ya, this is probably the most adult-young-adult novel I’ve ever read. It’s just a few steamy words away from belonging to the adult romance novel section. Quite explicit for high school age, it actually surprised me and took me off guard … long, detailed sex scenes and explicit language.”

Having read a passage, I agree.

“They’re like dirty magazines,” Anderson said of the two books.

The authors and publishers have been notified of the court’s ruling and have 21 days to respond. If the court rules that the books are obscene for “unrestricted viewing by minors,” it will be prohibited for Beach schools or bookstores to sell or loan them to kids. It will also set a legal precedent for the rest of the commonwealth.

“This is not book burning or book banning,” Anderson insists. “This is taking hypersexualized content away from minors.”

Keep going, counselor. Next do “Lawn Boy.”

This column has been republished with permission from Kerry: Unemployed & Unedited.

Share this article


(comments below)


(comments below)


12 responses to “Judge Finds Probable Cause Two Smutty Books Are Obscene For Minors”

  1. LarrytheG Avatar

    well, you can’t keep kids from the information any more no matter whether it is about sex or racism/replacement theory, etc.

    Old school thinking and/or refusal to accept the realities of today.

    And who would/should I fear more? The kid reading about a sexual encounter or a kid reading about how to get armed with a high-capacity magazine and kill as many people as he can is as few minutes as possible? (It’s always a ‘he” isn’t it?).

    and the irony – some (many?) of those who would take away the “dirty” books but defend to the death, the “right” to guns with high capacity magazines.

    somewhere there has got to be a more rational approach to both.

    1. f/k/a_tmtfairfax Avatar

      The issue is not what you or I think about someone else’s kids. It’s about the right and responsibility of the kid’s parent(s) or guardian(s) to make informed choices for their minor children.

    2. Merchantseamen Avatar

      “And who would/should I fear more?” YOU!

  2. f/k/a_tmtfairfax Avatar

    A parent should have a right to control his or her minor child’s access to books that are age inappropriate. And most wireless carriers and Internet service providers offer parental controls that can be placed on devices used by their minor children.

    Just like we all probably saw a Playboy or two when we were minors, so too can some minors today get materials that are not intended for their viewing. But cracks in the system did not push society to abandon safeguards then. Why now?

    These same controls can generally be used to block access to firearm-related websites.

    The law has always allowed for imposing restrictions on access to adult literature, firearms and ammunition by minors. It’s only when states try to impose restrictions on adults (California’s prohibition against 18-21 year olds purchasing semi-automatic firearms) that they are stopped by courts.

  3. Eric the half a troll Avatar
    Eric the half a troll

    “It means children shouldn’t have access to the novels without parental approval.”

    No, Kerry, that is not what it means… smh…

    1. Matt Adams Avatar
      Matt Adams

      If that’s not what it means, please state what it means.

  4. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
    Dick Hall-Sizemore

    It is a losing battle. Any kid can get the audio of this book on YouTube (I just tried it.) Probably can get much worse as well.

    An alternative way of viewing this situation is: If a kid is reading this book, at least he or she is reading a book.

    Second observation: The court ruled these books obscene for “unrestricted viewing by minors”. Legally, “minors” are anyone under 18 years old. So, these two books can’t be sold to 17 year olds? This is just not realistic.

    1. Matt Adams Avatar
      Matt Adams

      Two points:

      1) Just because a child with unregulated (poor parents is not an excuse) access to the internet can view much worse isn’t grounds to do nothing.

      2) It ruled unrestricted viewing, meaning they need parental permission under the age of majority. That is no unrealistic given the activities that are regulated for individuals under the age of majority. They card for Playboy in the Gas Station, I think they can manage the same in a library.

    2. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      17-year olds are NC-17 eligible at the drive-in and we all know about the backseat… oh wait, forgot, no drive-ins…

  5. Nancy Naive Avatar
    Nancy Naive


    Bill Cosby used to tell a joke about liberals reading books when they want to learn about having kids… I’ll bet not reading leads to more kids.

  6. DJRippert Avatar

    Interesting that liberals want to ban “Huckleberry Finn” as racist (although it is a critique of racism) along with Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” for using the N-word. Conservatives howl. Then conservatives want to ban so-called “smutty” books (which do seem pretty smutty to me). Liberals howl.

    Both sides find books they want banned from school libraries. Neither side can understand why the other other side wants particular books banned.

    1. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
      Dick Hall-Sizemore

      This liberal finds nothing wrong with either “Huckleberry Finn” or “To Kill a Mockingbird”.

Leave a Reply