LGBT Center Director Arrested in Multi-Agency Child Sex Sting

LGBT Center Director Arrested in Multi-Agency Child Sex Sting

A 42-year-old man who at the time of his arrest was the boss of an LGBT resource center in Modesto, California, was arrested earlier this month as part of an online sting targeting child sex predators.

Gerad Slayton, 42, of Modesto, was among 17 men arrested earlier this month in an operation led by the Turlock Police Department, according to CBS. Twelve of the 17 men, ranging in ages from 19 to 54, were from Stanislaus County, police said, while five lived outside the county.

At the time of his arrest, Slayton was the executive director of the Rainbow Resource Center, which provides mental health and other services to LGBT residents, according to the  San Joaquin Valley Sun.

The Sun said he was appointed the director of the center late last year after first coming to work there in 2022.

Slayton was in the Stanislaus County Jail on $250,000 bail. He was charged with contacting a minor with the intent to have sex and arranging to meet a minor for sex, according to KCRA-TV.

In a post on Facebook, the center said Slayton is no longer employed there.

The post said the allegations against him “occurred off-site, outside of working hours, and not while performing work-related duties.”

In the statement, the center said it was “committed to maintaining a safe, inclusive, and respectful environment for all members of our community. We want to assure our community that we take these allegations with the utmost seriousness.

“Mr. Slayton’s actions do not represent our organization’s values or mission. Following our unwavering commitment to upholding the highest standards of conduct and integrity, we have addressed the issue,” the statement said.

According to a news release from the Turlock Police Department, it and other law enforcement partners conducted an online chat sting on Jan. 5 and 6.

“The mission of this operation was to catch predators that were seeking to meet with underaged children for the purpose of sexual activity. This operation was complex in nature and involved the coordinated effort of multiple agencies and various police department units,” the news release said.

Turlock Police Chief Jason Hedden was quoted in the statement as saying, “This operation was the culmination of months of planning by the Turlock Police Department and cooperating agencies. I am proud of Detective Gina Giovacchini and our team for their efforts to intercept those looking to harm children in our community.”

Giovacchini said that the help from partner agencies “helped keep our youth safe. Keeping our children safe from predators will continue to be my number one priority.”

Dominique Sanches of the Turlock Police Department said, the goal of the operation “was to seek people who were trying to arrange with minors for sexual activities,” according to KCRA.

“This problem isn’t going away,” Sgt. Amar Gandhi with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office told CBS. “While 17 arrests are very significant, it’s a drop in the bucket.

He warned parents to supervise and educate their children about the dangers of meeting strangers online.

“Even some of these innocent online games have conversation features. Predators know about it and prey on everybody,” Gandhi said.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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