YMCA worker charged in sex crime

Download

103,600 children were sexually abused in the US in 1998, 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 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.


On November 15, 2001, this news article appeared in a major mid-western newspaper:
YMCA worker charged in sex crime; He said he assaulted girl, 10, complaint says.
By: Howie Padilla, Staff Writer

“A YMCA youth worker told (city) police that he fell in love and had an ongoing sexual relationship with a 10-year-old girl that began earlier this year, according to a sexual assault charge filed Wednesday.

Shawn C. Leiker, 21, of (city), turned himself in to police early Saturday morning, saying he had assaulted the girl, the complaint said.

He knew the girl outside of his job at the (city) branch of the YMCA, the complaint said. It gives no indication that the girl is connected to the YMCA or its programs.

Leiker worked as a summer day-camp counselor and sometimes was a referee for youth sporting events, said (a Y staff member); the YMCA's vice -president of marketing and communication. Before he was hired, Leiker cleared a criminal history check that included (County) and (another county), where he previously had lived, (staff member) said.

During the camp, Leiker was teamed with another counselor to oversee a group of five to 10 children, but there were no indications that he acted inappropriately, she said. When YMCA officials learned of the charge, Leiker was placed on leave pending the outcome of the case, (staff member) said.

“The allegation is of grave concern to the YMCA,” she said. “We've got 150 years of caring for children and their safety.”

The charge of first-degree criminal sexual conduct accuses Leiker of having sexual contact with the girl beginning in June of this year.

He was being held in the county jail Wednesday night in lieu of $200,000 bail.”


What this article teaches us is:

  • Fact: An admitted child molester was working in two separate YMCA programs, directly with children of the age he preferred sexually. Child molesters do whatever is necessary to be around children.
  • Fact: He passed a criminal background check. An estimated 96% of child molesters do not have a criminal background record. Criminal background checks are necessary but not sufficient to ensure child safety.
  • Fact: This YMCA used two counselors to supervise children. Using two counselors keeps child molesters from having unmonitored access to children.
  • Fact: The YMCA took immediate and deliberate action the moment they learned of the charge. Responding aggressively to suspicious, inappropriate or illegal behavior sends a loud clear message to the community that the camp puts safety paramount.

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.

Comments 

Submit a comment