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Northwest Iowa Man Charged For Burning LGBTQ Library Books

Screen grab from Rescue The Perishing on Facebook
Paul Dorr from Rescue The Perishing read aloud from an LGBTQ book in October before burning it.

A northwest Iowa man who burned four LGBTQ library books in Orange City in October has received a fifth-degree criminal mischief charge.
Paul Dorr of Ocheydan is a religious activist who runs the movement Rescue The Perishing. On Oct. 19, Dorr recorded a nearly half-hour long video on Facebook in Orange City primarily protesting a pride festival in the city. He said he does not represent a political party.

Towards the end of the video, he read aloud from copies of four LGBTQ books he checked out from the Orange City Public Library, including “Two Boys Kissing”, “Families, Families, Families”, “This Day in June” and “Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress." He called them things like “filthy” and “disgusting”, before tossing them into a fire.

Dorr is ordered to appear at the Sioux County Courthouse on Jan. 22, 2019. According to Iowa Code, this degree of criminal mischief is classified as a “simple misdemeanor” which means if proven guilty, Dorr could face a fine of up to $625 and possibly face up to 30 days in jail instead of or in addition to the fine. 

Donations poured in to the Orange City Public Library after Dorr burned the books. In late October, Library Director Amanda Vazquez said the library received at least 100 book donations about a week and a half after Dorr burned the four books. Most of the books the library received were the same titles Dorr burned. Some GoFundMe pages also raised money for the library.

The Orange City Public Library declined to comment on the charge. Dorr also declined to comment. 

Katie Peikes was a reporter for Iowa Public Radio from 2018 to 2023. She joined IPR as its first-ever Western Iowa reporter, and then served as the agricultural reporter.