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.
“Ex-Lifeguard gets 30 years for molestations”
MID-WEST CITY: 02/05/2003 - A judge slammed the door on a former [name] YMCA lifeguard Monday, sentencing him to a maximum of 30 years in prison on convictions for five felonies in the molestation of three girls, two of them at the Y pool in 2000 and 2001.
The prison term will be [predator]’s second. He served three years in [another state] after a conviction in 1984 on kidnapping and lewd molestation in [town] involving a [nationality] girl, 9.
In the [name] Y cases, two girls testified at [predator]'s trial in December that he molested them, one during the summer of 2000 and the other the next summer. The girls, then 10, reported similar incidents, accusing [predator] of assaulting them with his hands while giving them a free, 'private' swimming lesson at the Y, [address].
They said [predator] approached them at the pool. A third girl, 13, claimed [predator] touched her sexually at her home after offering her a massage.
'I am no longer a victim, but he still did a crime,' one of the younger girls told Judge [name] of [specified county] Common Pleas Court at Monday's sentencing.
'I'm very impressed with her. I think she's tough. She'll be the victor in all of this,' [judge] said.
The mother of a second girl said she felt [predator] should be punished severely. The third victim made no statement.
The allegations surfaced in 2000 when one of the 10-year-old girls reported that [predator] had assaulted her while supposedly trying to show her how to float. But no reports were filed with law officers after the girl and her mother told the Y's executive director and confronted [predator].
In March 2002, a second girl insisted to her mother that she 'needed a psychologist' and then revealed that [predator] had molested her the previous summer in the pool. Investigators later discovered the third victim, a girl who said she was 13 and 14 when [predator] touched her.
[Predator] asked [judge] for mercy and to consider that he has a daughter who will soon be 8. 'I will always be justified by Jesus Christ,' he said.
[Predator]'s trial attorney, [name], at the time called the allegations 'imaginary aquatic sex.' She claimed the girls created false stories to implicate [predator], who did not testify. [Predator’s former attorney] was sworn in Sunday as a [city] Municipal Court Judge.
The jury found [predator] not guilty on two counts of attempted rape. Those charges stemmed from allegations by the older girl. The jury did convict on a felony and a misdemeanor based on other evidence the older girl presented.
[Name], chief of the county prosecutor's child abuse unit, said [specified county] officials in [other state] did not post predator's conviction on the national criminal information networks. Even if Y officials had checked his background, they would not have learned of his convictions, she said.
The [other state] reports could not be used at [predator]'s trial because of the length of time between the two sets of offenses, [chief of the county prosecutor's child abuse unit] said.
What we do know:
What we don’t know:
What we should do to protect our children:
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.