Director of Modesto LGBTQ+ organization among those arrested in child predator sting | #childpredator | #onlinepredator | #sextrafficing

The executive director of the Rainbow Resource Center, a leading Modesto-based LGBTQ+ support center, was confirmed to be one of 17 men arrested on suspicion of eliciting sex with a minor.

Gerad Slayton, 42, was arrested during a sting operation conducted by the Turlock Police Department set up to catch predators allegedly seeking to meet minors with the intent to have sex with them.

Slayton recently was appointed executive director of the Rainbow Center, a local nonprofit organization that provides resources to LGBTQ+ members of all ages. It particularly offers resources related to mental and physical health.

The Rainbow Center released a statement on Facebook saying Slayton’s alleged actions happened outside working hours and did not happen on its premises. Slayton has never previously been charged with a felony in Stanislaus County, according to court records.

The Rainbow Center statement expressed a willingness to be transparent about the arrest and holding itself accountable, saying that Slayton’s arrest needed “to be properly addressed” and that it was “committed to maintaining a safe, inclusive and respectful environment.”

“We want to assure our community that we take these allegations with the utmost seriousness. [Slayton’s] actions do not represent our organization’s values or mission,” read the statement. “In accordance with our unwavering commitment to upholding the highest standards of conduct and integrity, we are addressing the issue within the rainbow resource center.

“We acknowledge the impact that the situation may have had on the community. We understand that trust is earned through consistent and accountable actions. We are 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 LGBTQ+ community, our actions must reflect our dedication to these principles.”

Alex Gutierrez, The Rainbow Resource Center’s interim executive director, told The Modesto Bee the organization “didn’t do anything wrong” and maintained the stance that Slayton’s alleged actions were “personal decisions” that happened “off the clock.”

“We’re obviously ready for for whatever happens, but, you know, this was a personal decision made by one of our employees and it’s unfortunate… So, it is, you know, very impactful for us. We are trying to get through it,” Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez said that Slayton had been executive director for six weeks before his arrest and was part of the Rainbow Resource Center since July 2022. There had been no complaints of any kind toward Slayton, according to Gutierrez

“He was new in that position and was working mostly with kind of staff roles,” said Gutierrez. “So I can’t say that he didn’t have, you know, any contact with people, with peers in general, you know, not to say zero contact, but we have definitely other layers of [contact] when you first come in, you don’t obviously meet the executive director.”

The majority of those whom the center helps are between the ages 25 and 35, but do include minors, according to Gutierrez.

Turlock PD’s operation

The operation was planned for months, involved several agencies and was helmed by Turlock police Detective Gina Giovacchini. She said undercover officers pretended to be children between the ages of 13 and 17.

“We got hits on every age,” said Giovacchini.

The operation used several messaging and dating apps to lure suspects to a location. Giovacchini said an officer, pretending to be a minor, would get the suspect to agree to meet in person with the intention of having sex.

As far as the scale and intent of the operation, it was the first of its kind for the Turlock Police Department, Giovacchini said.

Slayton pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of meeting with a minor for the purpose of engaging in lewd and lascivious behavior. His next court appearance is an early case management conference scheduled for Jan. 29 at the Stanislaus County Superior Courthouse.

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