WNYT.com

State Museum implements change after reported attack

Posted at: 06/06/2013 5:28 PM
Updated at: 06/06/2013 7:47 PM
By: Abigail Bleck

The entrance to the bathroom at the NYS Museum
The entrance to the bathroom at the NYS Museum

ALBANY--The carousel at the New York State Museum is packed, Thursday, with care-free children.  Their parents, however, know that life--even on a class trip, isn't just fun and games.

"My son will never go in the bathroom by himself," says Stephanie Gardener who is at the museum with her almost two year old toddler son.

On Tuesday, police arrested 22 year old Edward Tubbs of Albany and they say he waited for a child inside a bathroom stall and molested him.  The mother of the six year old, visiting the museum with a Cambridge school, was just outside the bathroom door.

"I would like to take them in whenever I do anything," says another mother, Jennifer Purrington, who was visiting the museum with her daughter from Rome, NY.

To ease parents' worries and to prevent another attack, State Police increased their patrols inside the facility.  Museum officials also just designated two bathrooms on the fourth floor as family bathrooms.

"Just like public areas on the Thruway we need a place for people to be safe  A place any parent of either gender, can bring a kid into the restroom," explained the museum's director, Mark Schaming.

Students on class trips are being encouraged to use existing restrooms in a secure area of the museum that isn't open to the public.  The museum, its in-house security staff and the State Police are also revisiting protocols to determine what, if anything, can be done to better insure the safety of all visitors.

"You can never trust a public bathroom or a child by himself in a public bathroom," adds Gardener.

The place responsible for preserving our past must also be cognizant of the world we live in now. 

"We're a public museum and open to anyone.  It's a free museum and we pride ourselves about that.  We have tens of thousands of school children but the rest of the world walks through the doors as well," says Schaming.

Edward Tubbs is charged with first degree sexual abuse for allegedly having sexual contact with someone under the age of 11.   It's a felony but he also faces a misdemeanor child endangerment charge.