Kentucky Principal Who Banned LGBTQ Books Arrested for Child Porn


A Kentucky high school principal who banned books with LGBTQ and other objectionable content has been arrested on 30 charges of possession and distribution of child pornography.

Phillip Todd Wilson, 54, principal of Clark County Area Technology Center, a public vocational school in Winchester, was arrested this week by state troopers, WKYT reports.

Police say Wilson possessed 15 images of child pornography that he had shared with others, resulting in 15 counts of possessing matter portraying sexual performance by a minor and another 15 counts for distributing such material.

The police had responded to a complaint from someone at the school who said they witnessed Wilson give child pornography to another person.

Wilson made headlines in 2009 when, as principal of Montgomery County High School in Mount Sterling, he and other school administrators banned several YA novels listed as optional reading for teacher Risha Mullins’ English classes, including Lessons From a Dead Girl by Jo Knowles.

Lessons From a Dead Girl, which explores the friendship between two young girls, includes some gay characters. One female character is “sexually abusive” to another, according to a Kirkus review, “claiming that the two are ’practicing.’”

After a concerned parent emailed Wilson and the Montgomery County High School administration, describing the book as “soft pornography,” it was banned from Mullins’ classroom. Other banned books included Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson, Deadline by Chris Crutcher, and Unwind by Neal Shusterman.

Mullins was later notified that every book in her classroom library and on her student book club’s reading list would be pulled and reviewed.

These books were removed even though “not a single official challenge had been filed, as board policy required for a book to be suspended,” Mullins wrote in a blog post at the time.

“The Clark County Public School System is shocked and dismayed over the recent arrest and allegations,” writes a school district official in a statement, confirming that they are working with law enforcement and the Kentucky Department of Education. “The Clark County Public School System remains committed to the safety and security of its teachers and students.”

Clark County Area Technology Center has placed Wilson on leave, effective immediately. Wilson was also a licensed Kentucky High School Athletic Association official for basketball and softball, but that license will be suspended due to the charges.

Wilson, who pleaded not guilty at his arraignment, is being held in the Clark County Detention Center on $25,000 bail. His next court date is September 4.

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