Stephen Kosiorek worked at the Pride Center for about one year starting in 2015 during the same time as the playground was being installed.
“I did a lot of odd stuff for them. Maintenance. Housekeeping. Kitchen duties,” he said.
He also worked with Clarence Collins, 63, the convicted sex predator that worked at the Pride Center in some capacity since 2003 until he was fired on March 19.
Kosiorek had no idea that Collins was on a sex offender registry when he started.
But when someone approached him with the information he immediately took it to his superiors. The first person he told suggested he “run it up the food chain.”
And so he did.
Some employees expressed surprise. Other appeared to already know.
“Some were shocked and appalled. Other were like “yea, yea don’t worry about it,” Kosiorek said. “The center’s management though was OK with it.”
Kosiorek, though, wasn’t OK with it. After he found out he researched the terms of Collins’ release and at one point counted the amount of steps it took to get to the playground from the front desk in the lobby where Collins was usually stationed at.
Kosiorek said that no one followed up with him after making them aware of Collins’ history. He eventually decided to approach Robert Boo, the chief executive officer, of the Pride Center.
“I caught him coming out of the elevator. I said “I need to talk to you about Clarence,” Kosiorek recalled. “Robert replied “I don’t have time for this today.”” Boo never followed up and Kosiorek eventually dropped the subject.
“No one ever directly came out and said if you speak about this you’re going to get fired,” Kosiorek said. But he added, “It was implied that if I make a big deal about this I am not going to have a job here.”
Kosiorek also said that Collins once chaperoned the LGBT youth prom and LGBT youth New Year’s Eve party.
Boo sent a generic statement to SFGN on Friday.
“Upon learning of a statute violation related to our playground and a former employee of The Pride Center, we took immediate and decisive action by terminating the individual.The Pride Center at Equality Park is a unifying force within the LGBTQ community, delivering vital services. We have always sought to provide a welcoming environment that as a top priority ensures the safety and security of all of our members, partners, visitors and their families,” Boo wrote. “As the CEO I bear and accept full responsibility for the handling of this situation, including the decision to terminate this individual. I appreciate the fact that The Pride Center’s Board of Directors is in full support of the steps taken to date. We have launched a new task force to review all policies and procedures and to ensure that members of our community continue to place their trust and confidence in The Pride Center.”