Andrea Suarez, founder of We Heart Seattle, has recently been called out over her failure to inform volunteers and the public at large that she employs a Level 2 child sex offender despite written organizational policy that expressly states otherwise.
The primary criticism
Originally, the primary criticism was that in this scenario, no one is given an opportunity to consent to the potential risks imposed by the arrangement. Suarez has predictably made no considerations for the impact of her actions upon her volunteers or the vulnerable community she serves. However, as the story has unfolded, it has come to light that Suarez placed Mr. Cooper in a critical role that would require his presence at a majority of their events with full awareness of his status, all the while publicly maintaining that her organization did not work with sex offenders.
No acknowledgement from Andrea Suarez
While We Heart Seattle’s has still not addressed the allegations in any official capacity, Suarez has rarely been known to forego an opportunity to indulge her narcissism and it came with no surprise that she would orchestrate a publicity stunt in response to them. On January 31st, an episode of Brandi Kruse’s Undivided aired with footage of her visit to a downtown Seattle homeless encampment to interview Suarez, who went on camera stating that people were simply overreacting to the news about Mr. Cooper, claiming that he was now being undeservedly stalked and harassed for a crime that he committed decades ago and had already done his time for (no one is stalking or harassing Lyle Cooper). Brandi Kruse went on to further defend Mr. Cooper in her segment commentary, stating that his community service efforts were noble and that calling We Heart Seattle out for employing a sex offender didn’t align with our liberal, abolitionist values.
Apparently we can add child rape apologist to the list of reasons Andrea Suarez and Brandi Kruse are unsavory individuals.
Despite the aforementioned publicity stunt, Suarez has yet to answer to the disparity between We Heart Seattle’s documented policy and what they have actually done in practice, or the myriad of legitimate questions about what will be done to rectify the situation and prevent further occurrences in the future.
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Alycia Ramirez succinctly enumerates the reasons Suarez’s handling of the issue is hugely problematic in a series of posts on Twitter.