Man arrested on charges of using Atherton library computer to view pornography


Acting on a tip from an employee in the Atherton public library, police from Atherton and Redwood City on Oct. 30 arrested Thomas Willis Hemmenway, a Redwood City resident and registered sex offender, and booked him into San Mateo County jail, police said.

An investigation by the Atherton police had begun the day before the arrest after a library employee called to report seeing a man using a public-access computer in the library to view what appeared to be child pornography, Lt. Joe Wade of the Atherton Police Department said.

Mr. Hemmenway, 52, was arrested on charges "related to the control and possession of child pornography," Lt. Wade said.

Mr. Hemmenway is also on parole from state prison and suspected by his parole officer of violating the conditions of his parole, reason enough to put him in jail, Lt. Wade said.

The employee left the library around the same time as the man in question and provided police with a description of his car and license plate number, Lt. Wade said.

Police crosschecked the information with a government database, found the vehicle's registered owner, and learned that he is forbidden to possess pornography, Lt. Wade said. The library computer, which was seized, contained incriminating evidence of pornography, he said.

After a conversation with Mr. Hemmenway's parole officer, police from Redwood City and Atherton arrested him at his residence, Lt. Wade said, adding that a search warrant is being drawn up to search his home.

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Like this comment
Posted by ITAtherton
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 10, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Ok is the Atherton library or city manager asleep at the wheel once again? Why don't all the library computers have a web filter that prevents any one using the computer to view pornography? I mean come on this should be standard practice on a public computer. I live in Atherton and I'm really growing sick of reading about the disarray our town is in.

Like this comment
Posted by Clarify
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 10, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Hey IT, it is Child Porn that is the problem with the offender. Adult is legal and protected by 1st Amendment. Neither are my choice by the latter is legal.

Like this comment
Posted by JM
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 11, 2010 at 10:15 pm

another reason to never visit that lonely library

Like this comment
Posted by Nicole
a resident of another community
on Nov 15, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Filtering isn't the answer. Filters are imperfect, and often filter out results that aren't offensive at all, while still allowing access to offensive material. If it were possible to filter out child pornography completely, internet service providers would do this automatically for all internet connections, since child pornography is illegal. It's simply not possible to filter out all (or even most) illegal content.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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