GILFORD, N.H. – When William Baer rose to read a sexually graphic passage from one of his daughter’s assigned readings, little did he know he would end up in handcuffs.
The father of a 14-year-old student at New Hampshire’s Gilford High School wanted to bring attention to a passage of Jodi Picoult’s “19 Minutes.”
Baer specifically wanted to bring attention to page 313:
“‘Relax,’ Matt murmured, and then he sank his teeth into her shoulder. He pinned her hands over her head and ground his hips against hers. She could feel his erection, hot against her stomach.
” … She couldn’t remember ever feeling so heavy, as if her heart were beating between her legs. She clawed at Matt’s back to bring him closer.
“‘Yeah,’ he groaned, and her pushed her thighs apart. And then suddenly Matt was inside her, pumping so hard that she scooted backward on the carpet, burning the backs of her legs. … (H)e clamped his hand over her mouth and drove harder and harder until Josie felt him come.
“Semen, sticky and hot, pooled on the carpet beneath her.”
Speaking exclusively to EAGnews prior to his appearance, Baer said, “I was shocked when I read the passage, and not much shocks me anymore,” Baer says. “My wife was stunned by the increasingly graphic nature of the sexual content of the scene and the imagery it evoked.”
The school board ignored Baer’s concerns – specifically that parents weren’t notified that such a graphic text would be required reading for young students.
Ultimately, the school board president can be seen waving over an officer to have him arrested because “he would not stop protesting.”
Now, Baer’s had his day in court and the three counts of disorderly conduct were quickly dismissed by Circui Court Judge James M. Carroll.
“…Individuals, from time to time, may be disruptive but the disruptiveness should not be cause for an arrest,” Carroll wrote in his decision, according to the Union Leader.
“The court does not find the actions of the defendant to be criminal in nature, which is necessary in the ordering of restrictions on a citizen’s liberties in First Amendment considerations. The court finds that the defendant’s action never created a breach of peace sustaining a criminal complaint,” Carroll wrote in his decision.
“The sequence of the arrest actions cause pause by the court as to the chilling, if not silencing of a citizen by the state, for actions which do not warrant a criminal arrest nor conviction,” he wrote.
“I am obviously pleased that all charges have been dismissed … (the judge’s ruling) showed me there still is some justice in our system,” Baer’s attorney, Mark Sisti, said after the ruling.
Neither the police department nor the Gilford school district responded to Carroll’s decision.