By Mike Weland
The April 27 sheriff’s incident report on an allegation of inappropriate activity leveled against the Boundary County Library is marked closed, but it doesn’t appear to be as closed as it sounds, and even if it is, it involves only one aspect of a wide-ranging series of concerns regarding management at the Boundary County Library.
“We’ve been waiting for weeks and we still don’t know the true status of our complaint,” Jeff Boiler said. His wife, Dana, works at the library and his daughter, then 13-years-old, was the recipient of unsolicited risque videos by another female library employee, 25 years old. “We keep hearing that if our criminal complaint has been dismissed, that’s it, but that’s not the case at all. The video is just a symptom of a systemic illness that’s infected the library, and it poses a risk to library patrons, library property and, if not treated, the very future of our Boundary County Library itself. ”
In the incident report, sent unsolicited to the Kootenai Valley Times by an individual not in law enforcement on Friday, undersheriff Rich Stephens writes that he received an email from the Boundary County Prosecutor giving the Boiler’s complaint and asking for a determination as to whether any criminal conduct had occurred.
He determined, he wrote, that the offending conduct was contained within messages in social media “chats,” and that the person responsible, her name redacted, resided on a remote road in rural Boundary County.
In his complaint, Boiler wrote that the video had been shared via Facebook on a page, “Library Strippers,” set up by the employee. His daughter, without her consent, was included in a list of people last June to receive notices in their Facebook feed whenever a new post was uploaded. He and Dana, he contends, had no knowledge of the incident until just before they wrote and filed the complaint.
The site was later renamed “Library Fun,” he said, before being taken down.
Uploads to the site, the Boilers contend, were made on library computers after hours, often with library funds lying around unsecured.
Not only current employees have keys to the facility, Dana said, but so do many former employees, never asked by administrators for their return. Sleep overs, drinking parties and other activities unseemly in a public facility, she said, were known to be common.
In his investigation, Stephens said those with primary involvement were library employees, their family members and former library employees.
He said the video included in the complaint depicted a woman “doing an activity on a metal pole that included spinning and twirling around the pole as well as lifting her body off the ground utilizing arms and legs on the pole. The type of activity is typically referred to as ‘pole dancing’ and is often used as a form of exercise as well as in adult entertainment.”
The background music, defined in the complaint by Jeff Boiler as pornographic, “seem to convey a sexual message and there were some explicit explicit language.”
Unable to determine from his examination of the complaint and due to the fact that the library is connected with Boundary County, he determined there could be the appearance of a conflict if the sheriff’s office investigated the matter.
On April 6, he contacted Idaho State Police Lieutenant Paul Berger, based in District 1 headquarters and head of investigations.
“He agreed to review the case for investigation,” Stephens wrote. “I forwarded copies of what I had received to Sgt. (sic) Berger.”
On the same day, he wrote, he received additional information from the prosecutor’s office that included copies of messages between members of the chat group that described the activity as exercise, with people in the group complimenting the dancer on her physical ability.
“Dana Boiler and her daughter were included parties of these messages,” Stephens wrote. “I forwarded this additional information to the Idaho State Police.”
On April 12, he wrote, he spoke with Berger and was told that the case had been reviewed and that it had been determined that the incidents were not criminal in nature and that no ISP investigation would be conducted.
“Case closed,” he concluded.
“It’s not possible to ‘investigate’ on the merits of the complaint if you refuse to contact the victims or even look at the other videos and physical evidence of contact with the victim,” Jeff Boiler said later. “Taking the accused’s word for it isn’t an investigation.”
Aware that the case had been referred to ISP and not having been contacted by any agency regarding the complaint, Jeff Boiler called ISP District 1 and said he was informed by Berger that no official request for investigation had been received from Boundary County as regards the complaint.
On Tuesday, April 27, he submitted a letter requesting answers to Boundary County Prosecutor Andrakay Pluid (see “Clear answers elusive in library controversy,” April 28).
Still getting no response, Dana Boiler called Boundary County Sheriff Dave Kramer yesterday afternoon, and he told her that he hand-delivered the complaint and evidence to ISP District 1 and mailed a copy to ISP Director Colonel Kedrick Willis in Boise, from whom they were yet awaiting response.
Saying he didn’t have specific detail, Kramer kept his responses general, and deferred comment to Stephens, who called Dana not long after her call to the sheriff ended.
She and Stephens spoke for over 15 minutes.
The conflict of interest investigation request on this matter, he said, was delivered to ISP District 1 headquarters in early April, and when notified that it did not warrant criminal investigation, he notified the county prosecutor and forwarded the official request to the colonel in Boise.
“When?” Dana asked.
“Wednesday of this week,” he replied.
“The library is closed for this, and they are apparently waiting for an ISP report to come in,” she said. “We are in limbo.”
“It’s terrible the library decided to do that,” Stephens said, “but I have no control over what they do so I can’t comment.”
Saying she tried to find out what was going on from library administration about two weeks after the complaint was filed, Dana said she was told she wasn’t to speak of it unless attorney Tim Wilson, now representing the library, was present.
“And he won’t talk to me,” she said. “No one will acknowledge this happened, yet they close the library.”
Wilson, she said, has been characterizing the complaint as fake, that the video was fake and that this didn’t happen.
“It makes me wonder what kind of information you sent to ISP, and what’s being done to stop this,” she said.
Dana then told him of her conversation with Berger and told him he told her that there was no written referral, only one phone call from Stephens during which he told Stephens ISP would not accept the investigation due to lack of resources.
Stephens agreed that he and Berger had engaged in discussion, but said it was not as she described.
Jeff Boiler joined in, saying he had spoken to a different investigator, who checked the computers and said there was nothing in the system indicating that an investigation had been requested.
“I don’t know why they don’t have record,” Stephens said.
“The evidence is being characterized by the attorney we gave it to as being a lie,” Jeff said. “It stinks to high heaven when you add a conflict of interest to it. We tell the truth and we’re being harassed incessantly. This is being characterized to the press as a determination on the merits. It is not. The victims have not been contacted, multiple videos are known to exist. We had people say they’ve seen a police report, the (interim library) director says he’s seen the police report, I’ve had people say they’ve talked to people who’ve seen the police report, but I haven’t seen the police report.”
“How is it the library director has the report and the victims haven’t even been contacted yet?” Dana asked.
Stephens said he had written a report and that it was public record, but Dana interrupted.
“Why did you not call us, Rich, to include us in that?” she asked, telling him that she can’t leave her house without being called out and harassed over this. “There has been no contact with us whatsoever from law enforcement or anyone for that matter. Even my employer denies that this happened. Our library is closed right now and it’s being held hostage until this is done.”
She iterated that there were myriad other ongoing activities, some criminal, and not just the issue of the video.
“It’s a pretty complicated situation,” she said, saying that half the library staff “has a lot to say about the criminal activity that is ongoing” while the other “has been concealing and covering up for quite some time and records are being pulled out of that place by the bagfuls to try and conceal all of this.”
“I know you guys have scarce resources and can’t respond to these broad-based public interest type things,” Jeff said. “We’re not asking you to … I think you guys want to do the right thing but you’re hamstrung, and we have facts that will unhamstring you. Conflict I understand, if you have a conflict, you have a conflict. But I know how to put this in front of the federal government. If I get backed into a corner where my daughter and my family are receiving this kind of treatment, and no local law enforcement or state law enforcement will handle it, I’m going to hand it all over to justice …”
“And that’s absolutely appropriate,” Stephens interjected, asking if they were willing to meet Monday morning. They were.