Sex offender accused of molesting 2 girls at Phoenix library

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Devon Anderson By Jennifer Thomas Devon Anderson By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- Police arrested a registered sex offender who is accused of molesting two 4-year-old girls at a Phoenix library in the Children’s section.

“A lot of parents do leave their kids here and go out and do their own thing,” said mother of two, Linda Bowles-DaSilva.

But that is changing here at Saguaro Library near Thomas Road and 46th Street as word of molestation incident in the children's section last month spreads.

“Clearly this is an individual who was using the library and children’s section of the library to prey upon young victims,” said Phoenix Police Sgt. Trent Crump.

Police say Devon Ray Anderson, 31, is a level-two registered sex offender and was on probation, with electronic monitoring at the time of the two alleged offenses.

“It’s against the terms of his probation to have contact with children,” said Sgt. Crump. “It’s also against the terms of his probation to be unsupervised inside the library.”

The first case was reported to police Feb. 22 but is believed to have happened last month; it just took a little while for the little girl to tell her parents. Then last week another family came forward. Crump said the victim told her father that a man had whispered inappropriate comments to her.

“The father didn’t know what was going on at the time but saw the suspect knelt down by his daughter talking with his daughter he went over and interrupted that conversation,” said Sgt. Crump.

Both girls were forensically interviewed and both disclosed they had been molested while at the library, according to Crump. The suspect descriptions were similar. A possible suspect was identified through library records. Detectives conducted photo lineups and witnesses identified the suspect.   

Crump said Anderson admitted to having an encounter with one of the victims, in violation of his sex offender terms, but denied touching her.

Parents say this is proof just how quickly bad things can happen.

“Like right now I just went to the bathroom and my 4-year-old was sitting right there and had I known that story. I have to be more careful just thinking about that kind of stuff,” said mom Bowles-DaSilva.

Every Wednesday Seth, 7, and his mom Nickcole McGillis come to Saguaro library to check out the books.

“I love reading, it’s just so fun like new adventures,” said Seth who also says he knows what to do if approached by a bad guy. “You scream and kick them so you can get away and tell your parents and the police.”

Police say this is the perfect opportunity to talk to your kids about what is appropriate touching and what is not appropriate.

Meantime the Phoenix City Librarian, Rita Hamilton, says library policies are being reviewed to see what if anything can be done to improve safety, “We work with the staff and have the guards who are monitoring and patrolling but we are a very busy place and an incident like this can happen so quickly that we need everyone to be vigilant.”

Devon Anderson was booked in the 4th Avenue Jail on two counts of child molestation along with multiple probation violations.