Convicted Sex Offenders Volunteer For Gay Pride Celebration
Pride Board Decision Draws Concern, Controversy
5:37 AM, Jul 26, 2005
The San Diego Gay Pride Parade and Festival this weekend is running into some criticism with the possibility of several major supporters withdrawing from the event.There are two convicted child molesters who volunteered to help with the annual Gay Pride celebration, and that could lead to a boycott by many who've been long-time supporters.People in law enforcement are especially concerned.The men are featured on the Megan's Law Web site, where the California Attorney General provides names, pictures, crimes, and locations of registered sex offenders.Warren Derichsweiler was convicted of forcible sex with a child under 14, and Daniel Reiger was convicted of a sex act with a person under 16.Both are volunteers for the San Diego Pride weekend festival, and this brought protests at city council and pressure applied to those who have shown support in years past."The city should not be allowing the event to go forward. Everybody's watching them now, hundreds of kids are coming to the event with these pedophiles involved," said activist James Hartline.This will be the 31st annual Gay Pride celebration and 150,000 are expected from across the United States, Mexico and Canada.One-thousand volunteers are involved, including the two we now know are registered sex offenders.San Diego Pride says it is working hard at improving background checks, but will not remove Derichsweiler and Reiger from the roster."The San Diego Pride Board has unanimously decided it will stand behind any individual committed to rehabilitation," said Frank Sabatini Jr. of San Diego Pride Media Relations.Sabatini also said the two will be involved only in set-up and tear down, they will not be doing anything like selling cotton candy to kids.Law enforcement is debating if it should participate as in years past, or simply provide security.The three frontrunners for the mayor's race are all aware of the issue, and all three say they're contemplating what to do, but no decisions before Wednesday. The deputy mayor had the same response.The San Diego Pride Board is meeting daily, and under a lot of pressure to remove the two from the event.