The board had originally been scheduled to meet at Broward House’s main campus in Fort Lauderdale, but members agreed instead to hold it at a private home. The board refused to disclose the location of the home or to admit a reporter or other members of the public, saying the state’s Government in the Sunshine laws did not apply to them as a private not-for-profit. Details of the meeting leaked out quickly, however.
Joe Follick, a spokesman for DCF, said Secretary David Wilkins had been told late Friday that McGuigan had resigned. DCF had hastened McGuigan’s departure by threatening earlier in the week to withdraw $663,762 in state dollars used to treat 1,750 adults with substance abuse problems.
Book said he was told that Dean Trantalis, a Wilton Manors attorney and former Fort Lauderdale commissioner, asked board members to accept McGuigan’s resignation, and that he suggested McGuigan “leave today, return his keys today, and not be allowed back on the premises.”
Trantalis declined to speak with a Herald reporter, saying Budwig was the only board member authorized to discuss the meeting.
McGuigan, a longtime Broward House administrator, was promoted to president and chief executive officer in September, when Castillo stepped down.
Allegations involving his behavior with children first arose in 2000, when a Delray Beach teenager told police McGuigan offered him a ride in his car when the boy left a supermarket job interview. McGuigan, he told police, showed him a pornographic picture of a child, and asked him to perform sex acts. McGuigan returned to the supermarket a couple of times after the teen was hired and struck up conversations, the teen told police, adding he followed McGuigan to a parking lot and jotted down his license tag. Police asked prosecutors to press charges of lewd and lascivious behavior, but the State Attorney’s Office declined.
Nine years later, McGuigan’s name surfaced again when 7-year-old Gabriel Myers committed suicide shortly after leaving McGuigan’s foster home. A now-adult man from Massachusetts called Margate police, who were investigating Gabriel’s death, and claimed that McGuigan had molested him years earlier. The Massachusetts man had been a victim of McGuigan’s father, John J. “Sean” McGuigan, who was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for raping and molesting children. Sean McGuigan, now free, remains a registered sex offender.
In February 2011, a Broward County judge ordered that no foster children be placed in McGuigan’s home after an 8-year-old boy told his caseworkers that McGuigan had molested him. By that time, DCF had already removed three foster children from McGuigan’s home, and McGuigan then relinquished his foster care license.
This summer, a Broward judge terminated McGuigan’s parental rights to a 6-year-old he adopted from foster care after McGuigan agreed not to fight the state’s allegations against him.
Book, who became an advocate for sexually abused children after his daughter Lauren’s longtime nanny was convicted of sex abuse, praised Broward House’s board for ensuring McGuigan’s departure — but also blasted them for waiting so long to do it.
“That they would leave a man like this in such a position, putting children in harm’s way, is inconceivable,” Book said. “It’s stupid and it’s ignorant.”