The city of Pasadena has placed Public Health Director Dr. Eric Walsh on paid administrative leave after videos surfaced online of Walsh’s controversial religious sermons, according to a statement by City Manager Michael J. Beck released earlier today.
Walsh recently cancelled an engagement to be the speaker at PCC’s 2014 commencement ceremony on May 9 amid questions about whether or not he was publicly approved by the Board of Trustees.
Walsh was scheduled to be the speaker after Oscar winner and PCC alumnus Dustin Lance Black said that he had his invitation as commencement speaker revoked after board members became concerned about nude photos of Black that surfaced online in 2009.
But a scandal emerged for Walsh as well because of comments in his sermons condemning homosexuality, Catholicism, Islam, and Harry Potter films, among other subjects, while preaching as an associate pastor at Altadena Seventh Day Adventist Church.
“Dr. Eric Walsh has been placed on temporary paid administrative leave to provide the City of Pasadena the opportunity to complete an inquiry into statements made by him, in his private capacity, and to assess the impact those statements may have on his ability to effectively lead the City’s Public Health Department,” Beck said in his statement.
A city spokesman said the city is examining videos of Walsh’s sermons.
“It was because of personal statements that he’s made, that were video recorded and brought to the city’s attention,” said William H. Boyer, Public Information Officer for the City of Pasadena.
“Through a variety of sources, we were made aware of the videos.”
The Board held a special meeting on Wednesday where they voted to apologize to and re-invite original Commencement Speaker candidate Dustin Lance Black.