Last week 63-year-old convicted sex predator Clarence Collins, who worked at the Pride Center, was arrested and charged with two criminal charges. The first was failing to re-register as a sex offender, and second, failing to notify law enforcement of a change of address.
Now a third charge has been added related to him actually working at the Pride Center. It’s illegal for a someone who is on a sex offender registry to work somewhere where children congregate. The Pride Center has a playground on their campus.
Florida law states: “If the victim was under age 18, a prohibition on working for pay or as a volunteer at any place where children regularly congregate, including, but not limited to, schools, child care facilities, parks, playgrounds, pet stores, libraries, zoos, theme parks, and malls.”
Collins was fired from his job as a janitor at the Pride Center on March 19.
The Pride Center has since become embroiled in controversy after it was learned its Chief Executive Officer, Robert Boo, knew Collins was a convicted sex predator.
Initially Boo tried to defend Collins and his decision to keep him on staff.
“The individual was an elderly janitor who decades prior, had one reported incident of inappropriate behavior toward a child. He had served his time and wanted to repay his debt to society. In his years of service at The Pride Center, he did not raise any red flags,” Boo said. “During his time with us, we ensured that the employee was not on-site during any events involving children.”
However, after the details of Collins’ conviction were revealed Boo changed his stance telling CBS4 News in Miami “had I known the information that I know now, absolutely I would have made a different decision. But I run a community center. I’m not an attorney. I don’t have that background knowing what are the state statutes.”
Collins confessed to raping an 11-year-old girl in the mid-90s as well as threatening “to kill her if she told.”
In previous stories SFGN interviewed several individuals, who claim to have given Boo enough information that any reasonable person would have followed up.
Several members of the community have now called for Boo’s resignation including a Miami Herald columnist.
For now the the board is sticking by him.
The chair of the board, Mark Budwig, said in a statement: “The Pride Center Board of Directors supports CEO Robert Boo’s decisive action to address the issue pertaining to a recently terminated part-time employee. We are committed to continuing our work with Robert, the Pride Center staff, our members and partners to be a welcoming, safe space and inclusive home that celebrates, nurtures and empowers the LGBTQ community and our neighbors in South Florida.”
However before that statement of unity was released, one board member, Heidi Siegel, had already resigned over the fallout and does not support Robert Boo.
“I think Robert should resign,” Siegel said. “I thought one of the big coups for the Pride Center was Robert’s previous experience in corporate America. If he has that experience he should know better. This is willful neglect.”