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Book burning

Paul Dorr, a northwest Iowa religious activist, released a Facebook Live video Oct. 19 in which he burned four books from the Orange City Public Library. A still from that video is shown. Dorr has pleaded not guilty to fifth-degree criminal mischief, a simple misdemeanor. 

ORANGE CITY, Iowa -- An Ocheyedan, Iowa, man has pleaded not guilty to burning four LGBTQ-themed books he had checked out from the Orange City Public Library.

Paul Dorr, 62, filed his written plea electronically in Sioux County District Court on Saturday to one count of fifth-degree criminal mischief. A trial date has not yet been set. A simple misdemeanor, the charge is punishable by a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $625 fine. Dorr said in the filing that he has not yet hired an attorney to represent him.

Dorr on Oct. 19 posted a half-hour long Facebook Live video that showed him tossing the books into a burning barrel. Dorr, director of the Ocheyedan-based group called Rescue the Perishing, said he was protesting a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning celebration in Orange City, the introduction of sexual education into the public schools and some local churches' reluctance to denounce homosexuality.

In an interview with the Journal in October, Dorr said he would not reimburse the library for the destroyed books.

The library, which has faced community opposition for putting LGBTQ books on its shelves, has declined to say whether it has replaced the books or assessed the costs to Dorr. After the burning, the library received hundreds of dollars in cash donations and books from individuals and groups across the country.

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