Boys & Girls Clubs of America has been rocked by a series of lawsuits, civil cases and allegations involving widespread sexual abuse within its facilities.
One of the most “egregious” cases, according to recent media reports, involves Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley, California where a former coach got away with abusing at least four boys over a decade before eventually being jailed for his crimes.
Multiple failings highlighted at Sonoma Valley club
The case Sonoma Valley club case involves coach Paul Dwayne Kilgore. Questionsover Kilgore’s conduct first came to light in 2007 when a fifth grade boy reported that Kilgore had asked him and others to undress before making inappropriate comments about their genitalia. When he made a second complaint in 2010, the boy claims he was asked why he hadn’t said anything earlier.
Kilgore continued to work at the facility and was even assigned to teach sexual health classes, a position he allegedly used to groom boys.
Following the concerns, Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley CEO Dave Pier discussed Kilgore’s conduct with the chapter board, recommending that they needed to set boundaries. However, no actions followed from these talks, according to media reports
In 2012, Kilgore took a group of children on an overnight trip and it was reported that he had slept naked in the same bed as the children. The incident was never reported to the Police.
When, in 2013, Kilgore was denied permission to take children off site he promptly resigned before taking up another post at Boys & Girls Club Petaluma, a 20-minute drive away.
Only when a teacher saw Kilgore at a health club talking to and touching boys inappropriately was he eventually arrested and convicted. He was sentenced to 150 years for six counts of sexual abuse of a minor.
Even then, the Sonoma Valley chapter claimed in media reports to have had no knowledge of any previous incidents or allegations involving Kilgore.
The incidents at Sonoma Valley are at the center of currently-pending litigation.
Abuse on a national scale
A review of court records and media reports has uncovered more than 40 cases of sexual abuse at Boys & Girls of America facilities across the country, with many involving civil litigation proceedings and some ending in criminal convictions. Cases have been reported from California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon and Virginia.
As with the Sonora Valley example, many chapters are alleged to have ignored allegations of abuse or failed to report the suspected perpetrators to law enforcement.
An Oregon lawsuit filed in 2017claimed both the local Western Treasure Valley club and the national Boys and Girls Clubs of America were liable in negligence after a teen participant raped a seven-year-old girl with severe disabilities. The suit alleged that the defendants were aware that the teen had sexually assaulted at least one minor before. See: https://www.crewjanci.com/lawsuit-national-boys-and-girls-club-sued-in-oregon-for-rape-of-seven-year-old-disabled-girl-at-local-club/
Another chapter implicated in the scandal is the Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich (formerly Greenwich Boys’ Club). Five men have accused former Greenwich club counselor Andrew Atkinson of raping them on multiple occasions when they were boys.
“…Boys & Girls Club Of America . . . Need To Do Everything Within Reason To Protect Kids In All Of Their Clubs Boys & Girls Clubs of America, which runs more than four thousand facilities across the country, claims it has significantly improved safety guidelines and policies over the past two decades while its website states it has a zero-tolerance approach to inappropriate behavior of any kind.
Nevertheless, attorneys working on behalf of sexual abuse victims have claimed that the national organization has had a tendency to distance itself from any local chapters implicated in sexual abuse cases.
Crew Janci partner Peter Janci told journalists investigating the issue: “[National Boys & Girls Club leaders] make statements about all their efforts to protect kids, but also try to take the position that the local clubs are independent entities and they don’t have the ability to control everyone that happens to be at those clubs,’ Oregon-based attorney Peter Janci said this week. ‘My view is that if Boys & Girls Club of America wants to present local clubs as being a part of the national organization, they need to do everything within reason to protect kids in all of their clubs.’
“Janci, who’s brought several lawsuits against local Boys & Girls Clubs in Oregon, said the clubs are just as likely to be infiltrated by pedophiles as any other large organization that supervises children, like the Catholic Church or Boy Scouts of America, both of which have seen unprecedented reports of child sexual abuse come to light in recent years. ‘I’m not sure we know the full extent of the problem of abuse within the Boys & Girls Club of America yet,’ Janci said.”
Our attorneys here at Crew Janci LLP support victims of sexual abuse to receive the justice and care they deserve. If you have any information about abuse at Boys & Girls Clubs of America or any other children’s’ facility, no matter how long ago, please call us privately on 1-888-407-0224. Alternatively, fill in our confidential form.