When Questionable Choices by Perdido Key Community Leaders Cannot Stand Up to Scrutiny

The shocking news that a member of the Perdido Key Area Chamber of Commerce is a registered sex offender has caused consternation within the community.

PERDIDO KEY, Florida — A cozy community of just over 33 thousand residents, Perdido Key is a small, but growing beach community. The Perdido Key Area Chamber of Commerce has undoubtedly contributed to the growth of the community, playing a leadership role in promoting local businesses and advocating for their interests, effectively enhancing economic growth in the area.

However, the recent discovery that a member of the Chamber of Commerce is a registered pedophile has rocked the community, bringing into question the Chamber’s overarching stance on morality, ethics, and the community’s wellbeing.

The expose came in a series of emails sent to the board by Julianna Young, an entrepreneur and chamber member who felt compelled to highlight her findings in the interest of the community.

“I was horrified when I discovered he was an ex-officer, a detective for the pedophile division who showed a complete lack of self control when he decided to bring a 16 year old girl home after a traffic stop—the very person charged with protecting minors!” said Young.

According to Young, she fully understands that registered sex offenders have rights with the law prescribing a process of rehabilitation post sentence. But instead of addressing her fears and concerns for the community, the board member who responded made little effort to convince her that the person in question was not a threat to the Chamber or the community, emphasizing that Chamber members are over the age of 16. And, when pressed on the matter further, all Young received was a curt response: “Have you bothered to address him and hear his story?”

“As a responsible and active member, I felt duty bound to highlight this matter to the Chamber’s board members and expected they would arrive at a resolution that would put my fears to rest. I was utterly shocked by the dismissive response I received. Not only were my concerns not addressed, but I was made to feel like an insensitive and uncaring person out to tarnish the image of a fellow member. Yet, everything I had shared is public information and accessible on the Florida Sex Offender List.”

Young believes there is a more effective way to address such an unnerving issue. Considering that she had already spoken out, and knowing that any parents with children would undoubtedly have deep concerns, reaching out to the community with a reconciliatory approach could accomplish more.

If the board were convinced the man was no threat to the community, then acting proactively to back him in the open forum would seem a better option. Dismissing valid concerns only exacerbates the issue, causing greater distrust, not only to the person in question but to the Perdido Key Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Sadly, the Chamber finds his misdeed and conviction acceptable and continues to actively encourage other businesses to partner with him. No additional effort has been made to ease my concerns other than an email that thanked me for bringing to light the sex offender’s history and expressed regret that I would be effectively dropped the same day per my request. I have chosen to sever ties with the chamber as I can no longer bear to be associated with a convicted sex felon who is being promoted within our small, vibrant community,” lamented Young.

What started as an attempt to reason with the board only resulted in a conflict of opinion, ultimately leading Young to part ways with the Chamber. The opportunity to resolve the matter amicably through discerning discussion may already be lost, leaving only the specter of a controversy that may prove detrimental to the image of the chamber, the harmony of the community, and a man attempting to live down a dark past.

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