Hamilton East Public Library audience member faces misdemeanor

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An audience member forcibly removed from the July 27 Hamilton East Public Library board meeting faces a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct. 

Adam Crouch, 48, of Franklin, was formally charged Aug. 3 by prosecutors in Hamilton County. 

According to the probable cause statement filed by Fishers Police Department officer Luke Grover, he arrived to help another officer with a reported disturbance at the library board meeting, which was taking place at the Fishers Library. 

Crouch was the first person to speak during public comment, which took place at the end of the library board meeting

“After his allotted time to speak, Mr. Crouch returned to his seat and slammed down a stack of books while continuing to talk and engage with a board member, causing a reaction from multiple people attending the meeting and disrupting the remainder of the meeting,” Grover wrote in his statement to the court. “While other members of the public were speaking to the board during their allotted time, officers continued to try to have Mr. Crouch leave, but he refused to get up and ignored officers. Officers had to grab onto Mr. Crouch and lift him out of his seat and escort him from the room while members of the board and the attending public were attempting to continue with the meeting.”

In his comments to the board, Crouch focused on the library’s collection review policy. He said there were numerous references in the Bible that make it eligible to be moved out of the children and teen sections. He held up various copies of the Bible as examples, and when he sat back down, he dropped the books on the floor next to him.

Board President Laura Alerding told Crouch he shouldn’t treat library property that way and asked him to leave after he spoke back to her from his seat. When he refused, she asked police officers to escort him out. 

Crouch eventually was taken out in handcuffs by five officers while other audience members repeatedly yelled “Shame!” 

Alerding cut off public comment soon after Crouch was removed, citing “constant disruptions” from those in the audience. 

The misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct falls under Indiana code 35-45-1-3(a)(3), where a person “recklessly, knowingly or intentionally disrupts a lawful assembly of persons.” If found guilty, Crouch faces jail time of up to 180 days and a fine of up to $1,000. He has no prior criminal record, according to the state’s online database.

Crouch’s next scheduled court hearing in the matter is a pretrial conference set for 1 p.m. Sept. 26 in Hamilton County Court.

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