Iowa City bookstore vandalism message accuses employee of sexual - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa City bookstore vandalism message accuses employee of sexual abuse

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An eastern Iowa bookstore was vandalized with a disturbing accusation against an employee.

The Haunted Bookshop in Iowa City was vandalized with spray paint. The owner believes it happened between late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning. The message was discovered by an employee going into work on Thursday.

On the side of building, facing the alley, was the message "A sexual abuser works here." Underneath it was written "trust victims" and "IC can do better." The accused employee was not named.

Nialle Sylvan has owned the bookstore for 13 years. She said the business has never been vandalized before, and she doesn't know what the message is about or who.

"Because of the sensitive nature of what it said, we did involve the police because we need to understand what's going on here," Sylvan said.

According to Sylvan, only six employees work at the store, including herself, and several others have worked over there over the years.

"I'm going to conduct an internal investigation and I've asked the police for help with that, too," she said.

The bookstore is 170-years-old and a historical landmark. Sylvan said the Historical Preservation Commission is working with her on how to remove the spray paint.

"It's not that I'm not concerned for the building, I am. This is clearly an act of pain and it alleges a very serious thing, and this is something that we need to look at very closely and seriously," Sylvan said.

Sylvan said the incident makes her wonder if she should have done something different in the past.

"I am placing a priority on finding ways to make myself approachable. This is my responsibility and I take that very seriously and, if someone feels that I wasn't, I need to change that."

Iowa City Police Public Information Officer, Scott Gaarde, said the incident remains under investigation.

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