The Modesto Bee reported that 42-year-old Gerad Slayton, director of the non-profit Rainbow Resource Center (RRC) based in Modesto, was taken into custody along with 16 others by the Turlock Police Department (TPD) after falling into a sting designed to ensnare child sexual predators.
TPD Detective Gina Giovacchini said the operation, the first of its kind for the department, "got hits on every age." Speaking to reporters, she recounted that undercover officers impersonated children aged between 13 and 17 years old. Using a combination of messaging and dating apps, Giovacchini said an officer posing as a minor would engage the suspects and get them to agree to meet in person – where law enforcement would be waiting for the suspect.
The department confirmed the operation in a statement on Facebook, noting that the endeavor "was complex in nature and involved the coordinated efforts of multiple agencies and various police department units." It continued: "Twelve of the arrestees were local, while the remaining five were out of county residents. All individuals were booked into the Stanislaus County Jail, with majority being held on a $500,000 bail."
According to the Bee, Slayton has pleaded not guilty to the felony charge of "meeting with a minor for the purpose of engaging in lewd and lascivious behavior." He is set to appear in court on Jan. 29.
The RRC posted a statement on Facebook distancing itself from Slayton. "We want to assure our community that we take these allegations with the utmost seriousness," the nonprofit said, adding that the predator's actions "do not represent [the RRC's] values or mission."
"In accordance with our unwavering commitment to upholding the highest standards of conduct and integrity, we are addressing the issue within the RRC. We acknowledge the impact that the situation may have had on the community."
The center ultimately stressed that it is "dedicated to rebuilding any trust that may have been affected by the situation. As an organization that is at the forefront of advocacy and support for the LGBT community, our actions must reflect our dedication to these principles."
Slayton's arrest followed recent news of an LGBT activist from Canada's British Columbia province being arrested on charges related to child sexual abuse.
North Peace Pride Society (NPPS) President Sean Gravells was taken into custody on Dec. 31, 2023, reported Great Game India. The charges against him include possession and distribution of child pornography and sexual exploitation of minors. All the alleged incidents happened in or around Fort St. John, located northeast of the provincial capital Vancouver. (Related: President of Canadian LGBT group arrested on PEDOPHILIA charges.)
The activist allegedly committed the interference and sexual exploitation offenses on Dec. 29, 2023, per the Daily Caller. Two days later on Dec. 31, 2023, the 39-year-old Gravells committed the child pornography crimes and was arrested on the same day. Before his arrest, the activist had been president of the organization since 2018.
In a Jan. 5 statement posted on Facebook, the NPPS announced the termination of Gravells as the organization's head effective Jan. 3. The organization also denounced his crimes, clarifying that the NPPS "is not implicated in any charges" and that those "are isolated to the individual."
"While some board members work directly with youth through library programs, this person was not among them. All board members involved in youth programs have undergone criminal record checks," the organization stated.
"Moving forward, we remain dedicated to community safety. We are implementing measures, such as subjecting all board members to record checks, to uphold the highest standards."
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Watch this WUSA 9 news report about former College Park, Maryland Mayor Patrick Wojahn being arrested over child pornography charges.
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