40-Year-Old Indicted on Sex Abuse Charges

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98,500 children were sexually abused in the US in 1999, the last year for which data is available. As many JCC professionals know, abuse, sexual and otherwise, occurs nearly everywhere. Yet, there is a natural inclination to believe abuse won’t happen in our own communities, not to mention our own JCC. Awareness of the threat is key, and reinforcing proven abuse prevention strategies is an essential element in protecting the kids in our programs. Both are the goals for our “Abuse Alert” program. Each is a brief treatment of the topic, focussing on one real, recent, public event, gleaned from the media… reprinting the article about the event in its entirety (omitting names and identifying references to the YMCA) and providing a few important teaching points for you to share with your staff. As always, if you need additional guidance on this topic, please call us at 800-463-8546.


“40-YEAR-OLD INDICTED ON SEX-ABUSE CHARGES”

NORTHEASTERN CITY: 04/05/2003 – A 40-year-old city man has been indicted on a battery of sex-crime charges for allegedly raping and sodomizing a 15-year-old girl, and sodomizing a 13-year-old girl. [Alleged predator], who lives at the YMCA, was indicted on a total of 14 counts, including charges of first-degree rape, attempted first-degree rape, first-degree sexual abuse and third-degree sodomy.

According to the indictment, he had sexual contact with both girls between the summer 2000 and March 2001.

[Alleged predator] was released from the [name] County Jail on recognizance Feb. 28.


What we do know:

  • children have allegedly been abused by an individual who lives in a YMCA resident facility
  • multiple events are cited over a period of about 9 months

What we don’t know:

  • whether the predator’s first contact with the girls was at or through the YMCA, or, for that matter, whether the girls have ever even been to the YMCA (the brief article just states where the alleged predator lives)
  • where the sexual crimes took place
  • what controls, if any, the YMCA utilizes to screen applicants who want to live in its residence facility

What we should do to protect our children:

  • Criminal background checks should be required of individuals who apply to reside in JCC residence facilities. Individuals who have a record of past felonious behavior should be excluded from residency. While it is a valid part of many JCCs mission to provide low-cost housing for individuals in their service area, it is highly doubtful that their mission extends to include endangering children or providing a haven for criminals.
  • Controls should be in place that screen and control visitation:
    • children should not be granted access to the residence floors
    • guests of opposite gender should not be allowed onto the residence floors
    • access should be controlled so that residents cannot sneak guests onto the resident floors or into the resident rooms
  • If residence facilities are located in the same physical structure as JCC childcare or children’s programming, or if they are directly adjacent to any such activity, then
    • the residence should have its own separate entrance, preferably facing a different street than the entrance to the children’s programming area or childcare center
    • there should be no available (i.e., unlocked) access between the residence and childcare or children’s programming area(s) of the building(s)
    • loitering by residents should be prohibited around the entrance to either facility
    • parents should be specifically made aware of the presence of the residence facility, including all of its positive points and the controls that are in place
    • children in the childcare or in the children’s programs should be reminded of how to respond if approached by a stranger and what to do if they encounter a stranger in an unexpected area
    • pick-up / drop-off procedures for children’s programming and childcare (e.g., after-school care) should anticipate and proactively address any incident potential created by the proximity of the residence facility

Please call us at 800-463-8546 to discuss this or any other risk management safety tip, or visit our web site at www.redwoodsgroup.com to learn more about JCC risk management issues.

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