The Young Men’s Christian Association, often simply called the YMCA, is a worldwide organization that offers several valuable social services such as youth mentoring, worship services, bible studies, tutoring, summer camp, day-to-day child care, and much more. While the YMCA stands for faith-based community service, some YMCA staff members have unfortunately used their positions to victimize children.
Parents trust YMCA staff members to safeguard their children, and when one violates this trust, the results can be devastating. It’s vital for parents to know what to do if they encounter child molestation at a YMCA center, or if their children report sexual abuse. After contacting police and filing a report, it’s important to contact a skilled YMCA child molestation attorney to pursue legal action.
Cases of Sexual Abuse at the YMCA
In September of 2016, Evin Blanchard of San Francisco used his position as a camp counselor at the YMCA to molest three underage girls during field trips. After the YMCA camp director learned of Blanchard’s activities, the director reported Blanchard to the police. The investigation revealed that Blanchard possessed child pornography and had been sending sexually explicit messages to YMCA students.
Signs of YMCA Child Molestation
If your child displays any of these signs while participating in YMCA programs, ask further questions and encourage them to open up about what is going on. If you suspect abuse, take your child out of the YMCA and contact police.
- consistent hesitancy to go back to the YMCA
- fear of YMCA events
- fear of a specific person or child at the YMCA
- trouble sleeping
- change in behavior
- physical warning signs of molestation
It’s imperative for parents to know how to spot the signs of molestation. Some children may be forthcoming in reporting such activity, but most child abusers intimidate their victims to keep them from reporting the abuse. Additionally, younger children may not fully realize what is happening. If your child attends a YMCA and suddenly seems reluctant to return, find out why. If he or she seems scared or apprehensive around a particular staff member, this could be an indication that the staff member is abusing your child.
If your child does report sexual abuse happening at the YMCA, it’s important to realize that children very rarely lie about molestation. You may not wish to believe such horrific news, but it’s important that your child knows you trust what he or she has told you to be the truth. Casting doubt on your child’s claims can cause significant psychological damage.
What to Do If You Suspect YMCA Sexual Abuse
When children are too scared to speak up about YMCA sexual abuse, it’s important to identify changes in their behaviors. Sudden mood swings often manifest because children have complex emotions they do not know how to process. Children who suffer abuse often have trouble sleeping or have frequent nightmares. Some children will also exhibit regressive behaviors, such as bed wetting and thumb sucking. Take any such displays seriously and try to start a conversation with your child. Even if he or she is scared, once you establish that your child can safely tell you anything, they will eventually reveal the truth.
If you have a strong suspicion or know for certain that your child has been molested at a YMCA, contact the police and file a report. You’ll also want to connect with a reputable YMCA child sexual abuse lawyer.
How to Protect Your Children from Sexual Abuse at the YMCA
Once you suspect or positively identify sexual abuse at a YMCA, remove your child from the facility immediately and contact the authorities. The police will investigate your claim and arrest the perpetrator if possible. It is imperative to resist any urge to confront the abuser personally, as doing so puts you and your child at potential risk and can easily damage a future lawsuit.
When it comes to legal entanglements, it’s important to retain the services of a reputable and reliable YMCA child sexual abuse attorney. The lawyers at Estey & Bomberger have extensive experience in a wide range of legal issues, and we take child molestation cases very seriously. If you have questions about child molestation laws, or have a YMCA child sexual abuse case to discuss with our team, reach out to our office to schedule a consultation.