Pride Festival Clown Revealed As Sex Offender

Pride Executive Director Steps Down

The Pride board continues to face criticism over the handling of the initial discovery that several registered sex offenders were working and volunteering during this year's Pride festival.

In the past few years, San Diego's Gay Pride festival has made efforts to become a more family-friendly event.

However, revelations that "Marty the Clown," who has entertained kids in the children's garden for years, is a registered sex offender, is causing community uproar.

The news was delivered at a meeting at the gay and lesbian community center Monday.

"I was shocked. We've got to do more to protect our children," said meeting organizer Ray Drew.

Weeks before the July 30 festivities, it was discovered that at least three other registered sex offenders were volunteers for the event. Two quit amidst pressure, and one ended up working the event for several hours.

In light of these revelations, late Monday, San Diego Pride executive director Suanne Pauley resigned at the request of the board.

"My concern is the way the board of directors handled this whole situation," said Pride co-founder, Nicole Murry Ramirez.

In a statement, Pride board co-chair Philip Princetta said, "The board of directors appologizes to this community for creating this situation. It was never the intent of any board member to deceive or lie to our community. ...Did we make a mistake? We most certainly did. Did we mean for this to happen? Definitely not," Princetta said.

Princetta said he was shocked and dismayed to learn "Marty the Clown," Martin Ramirez, is registered on the Megan's Law Web site, and that the board is still trying to determine all the facts surrounding his participation.

Many at Monday's meeting were concerned this situation will tarnish the festival's future.

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