Collegedale Public Library Board Confirms Director’s Cancellation Of Free Seminar To Protect Children From Sexual Abuse

Image Credit: Collegedale Public Library / Facebook

-submitted by Conni Leonessa

I am a retired pediatric Registered nurse. In my career experience and subsequent research, I have learned much about the epidemic of child sexual abuse and its consequences. 

Back in August of 2023, I volunteered to do a free seminar for parents to equip them on how to protect their children from sexual predators both in the community and online.


The date was set for August 29th at the Collegedale Public Library and then for some inexplicable reason it was canceled! 

I contacted the head librarian several times but was never given an answer as to why!

According to the CDC, 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 13 boys will be sexually molested before their 18th birthday. Approximately 80% goes unreported.

(See previous article for reference.) 

According to P.A.X.A. (Parents Against Child Sexual Abuse): “95% of child sexual abuse is preventable through education! The CDC informs us that the resources for child sexual abuse have mostly focused on treatment…little  investment has been made in primary prevention of child sexual abuse before it occurs.”

The library has hosted many other speakers on many different topics including heath, so what possible reason could there be for canceling this one, especially seeing according to their 2021 annual report, the largest patronage was young families with children ages 7-11.

According to the National Center for Victims of crime, children this age are the most vulnerable for sexual abuse! 


I attended the library’s board meeting on January 9th.

Mr. Kevin Kibble, Chairman of the library was present along with approximately 7 others. I asked if I could have their names and was told I would not be given this information.

I was given 10 minutes to speak, I spoke of the alarming statistics concerning child sexual abuse. I spoke of the physical, emotional, and psychological consequences of child sexual abuse. 

I spoke to the fact that 90% of trafficking victims were victims of sexual abuse. I also stated that 95% of child sexual abuse is preventable through education and that is why I as a pediatric RN and youth worker want to do this seminar. 

Mr. Kibble indicated that everyone present would agree that child sexual abuse was a problem and a concern. 

I was asked 4 questions. 

• Did I ever present before? I answered yes.

• What materials would I use? I answered that the materials used would include the booklet from P.A.X.A., PAXA Pointers Resource Guide and the book, The Serpents Among Us-How to Protect Your Children from Sexual Predators written by a New York Detective.

• Who is your target audience? I answered ‘parents with young children and teens’.

• Why did I write the article in the Tennessee Conservative? I should have answered that question with this, “I’ll answer that when you tell me why you canceled my seminar!”

After they finished with their questions, I was told I would have to leave. I asked if I could get a copy of the minutes and was told they would be on the website.  

However, they were not and will not be available until April. I did not want to wait considering that children are in danger and the information I wish to present could prevent future harm to them.

I waited a couple of weeks for their decision and finally I received a letter in the mail from Chairman Kevin Kibble.

I was thanked for coming to the meeting and was told again how important this topic was to the community, then came the decision: “The board voted to affirm the decision of the head librarian to decline your request for a speaking opportunity at the Collegedale Public Library.” 

Again, no explanation given!

If you are a pastor reading this or a church member who would like to host this event,  please call me at 239-601-4732.

~ Conni Leonessa, Pediatric Public Health RN.


 1. Fast Facts: Preventing Child Sexual Abuse-Centers for Disease Control.

2. National Sexual Violence Resource Center

3. National Children’s Alliance

4. P.A.X.A. Pointers Resource Guide – contact

5. Columbus Dispatch

6. Raphael, J., & Feifer, K. (2017 Feb.) What we know about sex trafficking,  prostitution, and sexual exploitation in the U.S. World Without Exploitation.

One thought on “Collegedale Public Library Board Confirms Director’s Cancellation Of Free Seminar To Protect Children From Sexual Abuse

  • February 22, 2024 at 12:50 am

    How many of those on the board have children or grandchildren or, better yet, were any of them or the librarian victims of sexual abuse?


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