As the sex predator scandal at the Pride Center continues to grow, some parents are now threatening to protest the upcoming Diversity Honors event taking place on April 27 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The annual reception and dinner is a joint fundraiser for the Pride Center and Harvey Milk Foundation.
The controversy involves Clarence Collins, 63, a convicted sex predator, who was allowed to work at the Pride Center in some capacity since 2003 until he was fired on March 19. After a playground was installed on campus in 2015 it became illegal for him to work there. SFGN broke the story on March 28 and the Miami Herald later reported on the details of Collins’ conviction. Collins confessed to raping an 11-year-old girl in the mid-90s as well as threatening “to kill her if she told.”
"The Pride Center leadership have reaffirmed to us their commitment to strengthening all relevant safeguards and safe space elements in what is an outstanding community center led by a commendable and passionate CEO,” said Stuart Milk, Co Founder, Harvey Milk Foundation. “We look forward to honoring an incredible list of inspiring awardees at this years Diversity Honors, on April 27, while continuing our long-term partnership with the Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood Hotel and Casino and the Pride Center.”
But others are not satisfied.
One such person and parent, Richard Alalouf, executive director of the South Florida Family Pride, is demanding that the Chief Executive Officer, Robert Boo, of the Pride Center and the Chairman of the Board, Mark Budwig, resign at their next meeting, which is Wednesday.
“If they do not resign, a protest will be the least of their concerns,” he said. “We are prepared to contact the sponsors and corporate entities.”
This year’s event will honor Dolores Huerta, a preeminent leaders of the Labor and Women’s Civil rights movement; Dean Trantalis, the recently elected mayor of Fort Lauderdale; Craig Stevens, a news anchor for WSVN; David Richardson, a Florida state representative; and the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Gay-Straight Alliance.
Alalouf insists this could have been avoided if Boo and the board had handled the situation differently.
“I have always had a great relationship with Robert, trusting in his leadership of the Center. My trust has been broken. My wish is for the Pride Center to get back on track and provide a safe environment for the whole LGBTQ community,” Alalouf wrote to the board on Monday. “For that to happen, they need to rebuild the trust in our community and make substantial changes to improve safety. That starts at the top with the leadership.”
On Friday the first sitting board member called for Boo’s resignation.
“I am ready to call for resignation. This was a clear lack of judgment on Robert’s part,” Jim Walker said.