A leading LGBT activist in Charlotte, North Carolina has resigned – after he was outed as a registered sex offender.
Chad Sevearance-Turner had served as the President of Charlotte’s LGBT Chamber of Commerce, and was even named ‘Person of the Year’ last year by local LGBT news site QNotes.
However, right-wingers opposed to the group have outed Sevearance-Turner as a convicted sex offender who “fondled” under-age boys.
A report from 2000 details the allegations, which came about while Sevearance was working as a youth minister at a church, aged 20.
The report claims that Sevearance lured a 15-year-old boy to spend the night with him, showing him pornography and “fondling him” while he slept.
QNotes reports: “Severance-Turner was sentenced to 10 years in prison, and he served two years before being released on parole. He has had no further violations since.”
The revelations have been exploited by anti-gay groups working to oppose a proposed LGBT rights ordinance in the city, with the N.C. Values Coalition claiming it “discredits any supposed evidence” for the basic rights protections.
Sevearance refused to comment about his conviction, but told QNotes that he has resigned to avoid people “throwing stones at an organization that has done absolutely nothing but help individuals and our community in our city.”
He said: “If this had anything to do with the non-discrimination ordinance, and if it had any credence or validity with what we’re discussing as a city and as an LGBT community, then I would absolutely welcome the interrogation.
“But I think that it detracts from the real conversations we’re having.”
The disgraced activist added that he is filing a lawsuit against the right-wing activists for “misusing” information from the sex offender registry, as use for “intimidation, threats, or harassment of an offender” is banned.
Melissa Morris, the new President of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce, admitted that the group had been aware of his convictions for some time.
She told the outlet: “We’re like a family, and as a family, it’s difficult for us to see any one of us put in a bad situation.
“It’s disheartening that things had to move in this direction, but as a family, we also recognize that we have to look out for the best interests of the whole.”