The executive director of the Rainbow Research Center, a pro-LGBTQ+ organization, has been arrested as part of an undercover sting conducted by the Turlock Police Department in California. Gerard Slayton, 42, who recently assumed the role of executive director at the Rainbow Center, was apprehended on suspicion of attempting to engage in sexual activities with a minor, one of 17 men arrested in the operation.
The Rainbow Resource Center addressed the incident on Facebook, emphasizing that Slayton’s alleged actions occurred outside of working hours and off-premises. The statement asserted that Slayton’s actions do not align with the organization’s values or mission. While the statement did not specify Slayton’s current employment status, the center expressed its commitment to addressing the issue and rebuilding any trust that may have been affected.
Alex Gutierrez, the Rainbow Resource Center’s interim executive director, emphasized that the organization “didn’t do anything wrong” and characterized Slayton’s alleged actions as personal decisions made off the clock. Gutierrez acknowledged the impact of the situation on the organization and clarified that Slayton, who was relatively new in his position, primarily worked with staff roles.
The Turlock Police Department’s sting operation, planned over several months, resulted in hits on individuals of various ages. Detective Gina Giovacchini explained that the operation used messaging and dating apps to lure suspects to a location, with an officer posing as a minor to arrange in-person meetings with the intention of exposing illegal activities. The scale and intent of the operation marked a first for the Turlock Police Department.
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 scheduled for an early case management conference on January 29 at the Stanislaus County Superior Courthouse. The Rainbow Resource Center, despite facing challenges arising from the incident, maintains its commitment to supporting the LGBTQ+ community and upholding the highest standards of conduct and integrity.