FORMS OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE
Sexual conduct or misconduct, sexual abuse or molestation, sexual exploitation, sexual touching, sexualized interaction, sexual comments about a person's body, or other verbal or non-verbal behaviors that facilitated, contributed to, or led up to abuse, regardless of whether or not such behavior was itself sexual or against the law, and regardless of whether the child thought the behavior was sexual abuse at the time.
Sexual abuse includes behavior between a child and an adult and between a child and another child, in each instance without regard to whether such activity involved explicit force, whether such activity involved genital or other physical contact, and whether the child associated the abuse with any physical, psychological, or emotional harm.
Sexual abuse involves behaviors including penetration or fondling of the child's body, other body-on-body contact, or non-contact, behaviors such as observing or making images of a child's naked body, showing or making pornography, or having children behave in sexual behavior as a group.
Requesting personal sexual favors for "rewards"
ABOUT YMCA SEXUAL ABUSE
While youth organizations can be a great method of providing after-school programs for children, providing a space to grow and develop, they may also lead to instances of sexual abuse.
Child sexual abuse is a widespread problem in the United States, with Child Protective Services finding evidence for claims of child sex abuse every 9 minutes.
An alarming 93% of child sex abuse victims knew their perpetrators prior to the crime; of these, 34% of perpetrators were family members whereas 59% were acquaintances—which include family friends, coaches, teachers, priests and youth program leaders, employees, and volunteers. Because the YMCA and YWCA offer programs for both children and adults, the interaction of these two groups of individuals is inevitable.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
Signs of YMCA Abuse can manifest in numerous ways. Children are typically honest about how they feel. If they're experiencing physical pain, or are upset about something, they will likely express it in some way. Sadly, child predators also impose their will on children who don't have the ability to communicate. In addition, some predators convince children that abusive behavior is normal, making it less likely that children will speak up. However, there are many indisputable signs that may indicate that abuse has occurred. They include, but are not limited to:
Disrupted sleep and frequent nightmares
May seem withdrawn or distant
Depression, fear, anxiety, and mood swings
Loss of appetite or other changes in eating habits
Cuts, bruises, abrasions, skin discoloration, and burns
Pain, bleeding, or unusual discharge from the genitals
Sudden bed wetting
Running away from home
Drug or alcohol addiction
YMCA Sexual Abuse Lawsuits
Litigation regarding the YMCA and YWCA’s liability for sexual abuse has already commenced. In one lawsuit, a former North Carolina YMCA counselor invited boys on trips, and, once away at a YMCA facility and while acting as a YMCA employee, he sexually abused the innocent boys. This YMCA employee, Michael Todd Pegram, perpetrated these crimes throughout the 1990s and early 2000s.
In 2019, Pegram (now age 48), pled guilty to a first-degree sex offense and is serving a 30-year prison sentence. The current lawsuit includes eight victims between the ages of 9 and 15, who argue that the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina (NWNC) “knew, or should have known” about the abuse.
“We are saddened to hear and learn more about what these victims and their families experienced more than 25 years ago,” said a spokesperson for NWNC in a statement, “but we are unable to comment on pending legal matters.”
Another lawsuit was filed in Clark County Circuit Court claiming that 18-year-old Michael Begin, who had been working as a teacher’s aid for the YMCA of Greater Louisville, molested 17 children between the ages of 3 and 8. Parents in this suit similarly allege that the YMCA failed to protect their children from this molestation. Plaintiffs also note that, after learning Begin was being investigated by the police for molestation, the YMCA did not immediately fire him—thereby allowing the abuse to continue for several more weeks.
According to Steve Tarver, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Louisville, the YMCA immediately suspended Begin and reported these allegations to the authorities. However, the organization has declined to clarify the timeline of the alleged incidents and detail the YMCA’s response.
Begin is currently being held at the Clark County jail on over 20 charges of child molestation.
In a separate lawsuit, a 5-year-old girl alleges that she was sexually assaulted at a YMCA after-school program by a 7-year-old child due to lack of adult supervision. The mother of the young victim is suing Greenville’s YMCA on behalf of her child. In response, the YMCA maintains that there were more supervisors than required by the state.
“The Y is a strong advocate for all families, and safety is our number one priority,” said Scott Baddley, the YMCA’s executive director. “We constantly strive to provide an environment where everyone has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. Investigators with the Sheriff’s Office who are trained in these matters and were able to talk with everyone involved informed us that they could not confirm anything inappropriate happened in this situation and closed their case.”
Lawsuits are currently being filed by abuse victims across the United States. Victims who were abused across the country, need to speak up! If you or a loved one have been sexually abused while in the YMCA, you might be eligible for financial compensation for your pain and suffering. Don’t suffer in silence. Fill out a no-cost claim review to see if you are eligible to receive compensation. – complete the free and easy claim review form today.
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