A drag queen who read at the Houston Public Library’s Drag Queen Storytime last year has been banned from participating in any future events after it was revealed that she is a registered sex offender.
Tatiana Mala-Niña, 32, was convicted in 2008 of sexually assaulting a child under 14. On Friday, March 15, the Houston Public Library released a statement admitting that it failed to complete a background check on Mala-Niña, who participated in Drag Queen Storytime on Sept. 29, and said that she would no longer be involved in any library 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,” the statement said. “We deeply regret this oversight and the concern this may cause our customers. We realize this is a serious matter.”
Each program sponsored by the Houston Public Library is supervised by staff, and all children are accompanied by a parent or guardian. No participant is ever alone with children, the library said, and there have been no complaints about any inappropriate behavior by participants at story times.
KHOU broke the news on March 15. Mass Resistance, a group which has been trying to put an end to the program, contacted the news source with Mala-Niña’s criminal records, which show that she is listed on the Texas Public Sex Offender Registry.
Read the Houston Public Library’s statement below:
“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.”