For months, residents of Charlotte have been debating whether the city should (or in fact could) pass an ordinance allowing individuals who identify as transgender to use the men’s or women’s bathrooms in places of public accommodation. Those opposed to the ordinance have had serious concerns about its effect on public safety.
This morning, Breitbart News is reporting that Chad Sevearance, president of the Charlotte Business Guild, who has taken a lead role in promoting the transgender bathroom ordinance, is a convicted and registered sex offender:
In 1998, Sevearance worked as a youth minister and in that capacity allegedly lured younger men to his apartment to spend the night where Severance showed them pornography and tried to talk them into sex. One boy testified that he woke up to find Severance “fondling him.” Sevearance was convicted on one charge of sexual molestation of a minor.
As a result of his 2000 conviction, Sevearance must register with the police on a regular basis for a minimum of ten years. His most recent mug shot and registration took place at the end of last year.
A reporter with the Charlotte Observer confirmed for Breitbart News that the Chad Sevearance they frequently quote is the same man who was convicted for sexual assault of a minor in 2000.
You read that right. The Charlotte Observer knew that Sevearance was a convicted sex offender, and yet never mentioned it once in its reporting. The newspaper certainly knew about this since at least February 18, when DontDoItCharlotte.com put out a report. (Though, considering that this information is discoverable with a quick google search, the paper likely knew about it before then, not to mention that his advocacy group also knew he was a convicted child molester and defended him by calling reports of his convictions “mudslinging.”)
In this context, The Charlotte Observer‘s failure to disclose these facts in its reporting is inexcusable. It constitutes clear advocacy masked as journalism.
This is not about further condemnation of Sevearance for his sexual offenses. The justice system has dealt with him, and it is not my place to heap further condemnation on a man who surely has been thoroughly condemned. This is about the Observer‘s failure to report on how a major figure at the center of a debate involving sexual predators and children has been convicted of being a sexual predator of children. In this context, the Observer‘s failure is tantamount to concealment. It is unfortunately one more example of our media picking and choosing its causes, leaving the task of actual journalism up to Internet news outlets.