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Pasadena Public Health Director Placed On Leave For Reportedly Making Anti-Gay, Anti-Catholic Remarks

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PASADENA (CBSLA.com) — The director of the Pasadena Public Health Department has been placed on paid administrative leave after reportedly making anti-gay and anti-Catholic remarks.

Dr. Eric Walsh, who is also the associate pastor at the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Altadena, has been head of the department since 2010.

KCAL9’s Juan Fernandez reports students at Pasadena City College – where Walsh was scheduled to give a commencement speech – are now calling on him to step down after a sermon he gave in 2006 in which he attacked schools for their tolerance of gays and lesbians and denounced women’s rights surfaced.

“He’s basically someone who doesn’t reflect the persona that the students are trying to put out into the world,” student Francesco Rengifo said.

Controversy surrounding the sermon prompted PCC officials to revoke their commencement speech offer.

City leaders responded by putting Walsh on 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,” Pasadena City Manager Michael J. Beck said.

Walsh was PCC’s second choice for a commencement speaker after school officials dis-invited Hollywood director and PCC alumni Dustin Lance Black upon getting word that a video surfaced in 2009 showing Black and a then-boyfriend having sex.

PCC has apologized to Black and asked him once again to speak at the school’s graduation. Officials say they have not yet heard from the filmmaker.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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