Assemblyman's aide accused of molesting 12-year-old boy

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103,600 children were sexually abused in the US in 1998, the last year for which data is available. As many YMCA 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 YMCA. 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… reprinting the article about the event in its entirety (omitting only direct references to the individual 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.

The following information was on the Associated Press Newswire, Friday, November 23, 2001: Assemblyman's aide accused of molesting 12-year-old boy

“[major western city] (AP) - An arrest warrant has been issued for a 61-year-old assemblyman's aide who allegedly molested a 12-year-old boy.

Howard L. Brooks of Quartz Hill was still outstanding late Thursday but is expected to surrender as early as Friday, law enforcement authorities said.

The Antelope Valley businessman has been a field representative since spring for Assemblyman Phil Wyman, R-Tehachapi. Messages left for Wyman at his state capitol and Tehachapi offices late Thursday were not returned.

Brooks is accused of committing lewd acts on a child, continuous sexual abuse, and possession of child pornography, said county prosecutor Rouman Ebrahim. The abuse allegedly occurred between March and November 2000.

A telephone listing for a Howard Brooks in Quartz Hill had a recording saying the number had been disconnected. There were no other listings.

The [major western] County Sheriff's Department Family Crimes Bureau began investigating Brooks after he allegedly sent a sexually explicit letter to an inmate at California State Prison in Sacramento, the prosecutor said.

“It talked about sexual conduct with young boys,“ prosecutor Ebrahim said, adding that the "pen-pal type” letter was intercepted by prison officials.

Authorities believe there may be more victims and are extending their investigation to include boys who belonged to the [Name] YMCA, where Brooks served as director during the 1980s.

The warrant was issued Tuesday.”

What this article teaches us:

  • Fact: This pedophile described his sexual acts with children to a prison inmate. Child molesters often communicate with others who have similar interests. The Internet has hundreds of web-sites and chat rooms designed specifically for child molesters (or “boy lovers” as they sometimes refer to themselves).
  • Fact: The YMCA may have to defend itself against an allegation of inappropriate conduct that occurred in the 1980’s. We don’t know yet in this case if anything happened at the YMCA, but investigating situations from 20 years ago presents quite a challenge. That’s why you should conduct a thorough investigation at the first hint of suspicious or inappropriate behavior or allegations of abuse and document your findings.
  • Fact: Abuse cases end up in the media and the publicity usually reflects poorly on the YMCA. Having a clear media management policy that dictates who talks to the press, and making sure that everyone knows the policy, can minimize the damage bad press can do to your operations.

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 YMCA risk management issues.

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