New Rap vs Kid Molester

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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 camp 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 camp. 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 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.

“NEW RAP VS. KID MOLESTER, Guilty in '95, he's sued in [NY borough] incident this month”

MAJOR EASTERN CITY: 03/2232002 - A former PTA president who pleaded guilty to molesting girls in a school six years ago has been slapped with a $66 million lawsuit alleging he did it again - this time preying on a 12-year-old at a [city] YMCA.

Police are investigating [name], 38, for allegedly groping the girl during a March 13 coaching session at a Y on [street], a [city] spokeswoman said.

“I'm outraged,” the girl's mother told the [name] News. “My daughter is traumatized. She has nightmares, she is fearful of men. She's afraid to go back to the Y. It was her second home for seven years. Now, she's lost a home. They are responsible.”

The lawsuit, filed by lawyer [name], charges the [name] Y was negligent “in the supervision, control and protection” of children in its care.

[Alleged perpetrator] could not be reached for comment. A man who answered the phone at his home said, “I don't know what you are talking about.”

In 1994, [alleged perpetrator] was PTA president at Public School 249 and was working elsewhere in [city] School District 17 as a teaching assistant when he was accused of sexually abusing four young girls in the school auditorium.

He pleaded guilty the next year to three counts of sexual abuse, and was sentenced to two to six years in prison by a [city] Supreme Court justice.

[Name], a local school board member, called the latest allegations “a horrible thing.”

“If he is continuing [this behavior] and the Y did not do the check after all these years of scandal and embarrassment, shame on them,” said [name].

[Alleged perpetrator] was a volunteer basketball coach at the YMCA, where the girl played on a team, her family said. She told her mother that [alleged perpetrator] approached her on March 13 and asked if she wanted some private coaching.

After they played briefly, he told the girl “he would like to feel her heartbeat” and molested her, the mother said. “He said, ‘If anything I'm doing is making you feel uncomfortable, let me know,’” the mother continued. “She said, 'Yes, please stop!’ and he still continued.”

The girl later told her mother, who said she reported the alleged incident to Y administrators and the police.

In a statement, [YMCA director], the director of the [city] Y, said [alleged perpetrator] “has never been a registered volunteer or paid employee.”

“We take this allegation very seriously and we are cooperating fully with law enforcement authorities,” he said.

What we don’t know:

  • the truth of these allegations, but there was sufficient evidence to warrant a lawsuit, and statistically less than 5% of allegations are false
  • the amount and type of YMCA-related contact between the alleged offender and the victim, especially given the YMCA’s denial of his participation in their programs
  • the type of screening and background checks that were utilized by the YMCA
  • whether the YMCA allows “unregistered” volunteers (who probably would not receive any screening or background checks) to serve as volunteer coaches or assistants
  • the supervision and controls in place at the coaching session… i.e., how the alleged perpetrator would have been able to access the children as a coach if he was unknown to the YMCA

What we do know:

  • background checks and supervision are critical, no matter how well known or visible the individual
  • the alleged perpetrator has a prior history and should not have been allowed access to children
  • thorough screening is important, but insufficient by itself; adequate supervision is critical to prevent access to our children
  • nothing can undo the damage to the child if we fail to be diligent in protecting them
  • the YMCA claims that the alleged perpetrator had never been a registered volunteer or a paid employee.

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 camp risk management issues.

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