By Karl Moffatt
Las Vegas Optic
CASA board president, Mack Crow has resigned from the local child advocacy organization after fellow board members demanded he give up the position due to public statements he made in support of an old friend recently convicted of child molestation charges.
“It was a cowardly action,” said Mack Crow of the board members’ decision to call a special meeting among themselves and vote to demand his resignation.
“They didn’t even have the courtesy to ask me to attend and explain myself.”
At the center of the controversy is Crow’s support of Edward Quintana, 72, the former owner of the Viola’s Day Care, who was sentenced to three years probation in late February by District Judge Abigail Aragon after Quintana pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor.
The charges stem from Quintana’s fondling of two young girls who had attended his day care facility in the past. A third case against Quintana involving a female relative is scheduled for trial in April.
Crow spoke on behalf of Quintana of the 2500 block of Montezuma Street at his sentencing hearing and asked Aragon to show mercy for his old friend.
Crow’s comments were then reported in a front page article about the case in the Optic.
In the wake of the his printed comments, Crow received a registered letter signed by four fellow board members, Tren Hillis, Katie McDonough, Mary Schipper and Charles Searcy, requesting his resignation after they held an emergency meeting to discuss the Optic article.
CASA Executive Director Barbara Casey referred requests for comment to board members.
Hillis, who was elected president of the board after Crow resigned, said the board stands by the letter it sent Crow.
According to the letter provided to the Optic by Crow, the board asked for his resignation because Crow’s support of a convicted child molester was not consistent with the organization’s mission. Secondly, Crow’s request for leniency from the court conflicted with CASA’s support of the judicial system and the fact that it is a court-appointed agency. And lastly Crow’s support of the perpetrator was not consistent with advocacy of the two victims, the letter states.
CASA is a non-profit organization found in every state, composed of volunteers who help children go through the judicial process after they have been removed from their family because of abuse or neglect, according to the organization’s mission statement. CASA volunteers provide help to the children in the courts to ensure that the decisions are in their best interests.
“Every one of the board members of CASA are unselfish, caring individuals who have worked hard for the betterment of the community,” Crow said of the local board. “But they overstepped their bounds in this case.”
Crow never identified himself as a CASA board member when he made his remarks to the court, and he said he was speaking strictly as an individual on behalf of a friend.
Crow said he still doesn’t believe Quintana is guilty despite his plea in the cases and thinks Quintana did so only to avoid a lengthy prison term, which would have amounted to a death sentence at Quintana’s age.
However, Crow notes that he did nothing more than to ask for mercy from the judge for Quintana and questions why he was censured for exercising his right to speak freely. Quintana’s attorney, Gerald Baca, presented letters of support from 16 other members of the community in support of Quintana during the hearing also.
Crow notes he and his wife have been foster parents in the past and that he serves on the local crime stoppers committee and that he has always tried to give back to the community.
He served as the local CASA chapter’s president for the last two years and on the board for another four or five years before that. Crow operates a local real estate and insurance agency.