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Pasadena's Eric Walsh loses Georgia job offer after controversial sermons

Pasadena's Eric Walsh loses Georgia job offer two days after resigning as public health director
Eric Walsh, a former Pasadena health official, had made controversial sermons on homosexuality and evolution

Georgia health officials on Friday retracted a job offer made to Pasadena's former public health director, who had come under fire for controversial remarks he made on homosexuality and evolution.

Dr. Eric Walsh, a Seventh-day Adventist preacher, interviewed for the position about two weeks ago and had received an offer letter with a start date of mid-June.

But Walsh never mentioned that he had recently been placed on leave from his job in Pasadena because of controversial sermons he gave on homosexuality and evolution, Georgia officials said. 

The sermons were discovered during a background check that happens as the last phase of the hiring process, spokesman Ryan Deal said. But the department could not comment on exactly what prompted the decision to retract the offer, Deal added.

The move comes two days after Walsh resigned from his position as the director of Pasadena's public health department. 

Walsh, who had directed the department since 2010, was widely scrutinized after he was selected to replace openly gay screenwriter Dustin Lance Black as Pasadena City College's commencement speaker.

Students at the college found videos of his sermons online, transcribed them and shared them with media. Walsh then canceled his commencement appearance, citing a scheduling conflict, and Black ended up giving the speech.

Walsh, who has not returned multiple calls for comment, resigned Wednesday. He apologized to staff in a written statement on the day of his resignation.

"I want to apologize for any hurt or disruption that these past few weeks have caused," Walsh said. "I am more than confident in each member of our department's ability to continue the progress and success we have had over the past 3.5 years. My time with the department has been a highlight of my career."

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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