One of our local Orlando stations ran a story about the sexual abuse of a 7-year old girl by a 13-year old boy on the premises of the Tangelo Park YMCA. According to the story, the 13-year old boy was serving some kind of sentence imposed by the teen court, which included some kind of service time at the YMCA. Apparently, the 13-year old boy was left unsupervised and given access to other children. He followed a 7-year old girl into a bathroom and sexually abused her there.
To the great credit of the Tangelo Park YMCA, the facility has admitted legal liability for what happened to the little girl. They have admitted that the 13-year old was never cleared by the facility to be a volunteer there, and that a staff member unilaterally allowed the 13-year old unsupervised access. The parents of the child are obviously distraught that a juvenile offender would be allowed this kind of access to their daughter. Apparently, the YMCA and the parents are trying to work out some kind of settlement over the child’s damages.
The reason that I am crediting the YMCA is that, all too often in these kinds of cases, we find that facilities and organizations that have been accused of negligent supervision or negligently exposing kids to dangerous people or situations often take extremely defensive and unreasonable positions about liability. The more common responses we see from defendants are denials and attempts to cover everything up. It is very refreshing to read about an organization that realizes that it has done something wrong and steps up and admits it.