Child sexual abuse can occur anywhere, but it is most common in places where adults have easy access to children. Organizations such as the Boys & Girls Clubs of America can pose risks of abuse from counselors, camp employees, organization directors, or older campers by allowing unsupervised access to children. Child sex abuse at the Boys & Girls Clubs could lead to lasting harm for victims.
What is the Boys & Girls Clubs of America?
The Boys & Girls Clubs of America is a national organization that claims to promote positive child behavior and character development. It provides allegedly safe places for children to learn, grow, and develop in most major cities across the United States. Boys & Girls Clubs have been around since 1860. More than 4,000 local clubs are affiliates of the organization, serving more than four million children. While many “Club kids” benefitted from positive experiences at their local clubs, many others suffered at the hands of sexual abusers.
About Child Sex Abuse
Child sexual abuse refers to forced or coerced sexual acts between a perpetrator and a child under the age of 17. Sexual conduct can refer to physical touching, but it can also refer to non-physical acts, such as persuading a child to take photographs in sexual positions. Sex abuse is a serious crime that can cause long-lasting emotional and psychological effects on the victim. Many children who suffer sex abuse experience outcomes such as:
- Depression or anxiety
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Eating disorders
- Trouble sleeping
- Higher risk of sexual promiscuity
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Suicidal thoughts or actions
A child who experienced sexual abuse or violence at a Boys & Girls Club of America may suffer the consequences for life. Child sex abuse can have lasting negative effects on a child’s emotions and development. It could also have a physical impact, either directly (e.g. physical abuse, pregnancy) or indirectly (e.g. eating disorders, self harm, suicide). It is critical to spot the signs of sex abuse at a Boys & Girls Club to intervene as quickly as possible. Some children may be more at risk of sex abuse than others.
Children who may be at Risk of Sex Abuse
Unfortunately, any child could become the victim of sexual abuse. However, some circumstances more often lead to child abuse crimes than others. As a parent, protecting your children takes awareness of the most common risk factors involved in sexual abuse cases. The following risk factors can serve as red flags for abuse opportunities:
- Overnight stays. Overnight club trips or camping excursions with a Boys & Girls Club could increase the risk of sexual abuse. Overnight stays come with more opportunities to get children alone and sexually assault them.
- Activities that involve locker rooms. Many sex abuse cases involving clubs and schools happen in locker rooms. Avoiding activities that may involve changing, such as swimming or sports, could increase your child’s protection from inappropriate sexual conduct by others.
- Negligence at the club level. Watch the Boys & Girls Club facility for signs of negligence, such as lack of child supervision or clubs that allow adult staff members to be alone with members. Adult men in positions of trust with children are especially risky.
Signs that your child might be suffering sex abuse at a Boys & Girls Club include not wanting to return to the club, fear or anxiety about seeing a certain counselor, feelings of guilt or shame, symptoms of depression, or inappropriate knowledge of sexual subjects. If you notice possible signs of sex abuse, broach the subject with your child. Then, take action if you suspect abuse.
Examples of Boys & Girls Club Sex Abuse Cases
Thousands of cases of alleged child sexual abuse have involved Boys & Girls Clubs of America. One of the most recent cases named the Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich, Connecticut as the defendant. The lawsuit alleges that three employees knew of at least nine boys suffering sexual abuse by a counselor in the 1970s and ‘80s, yet did nothing to intervene. Another case from December 2018 involves Sonoma County Boys & Girls Clubs allegedly covering up acts of child sex abuse by a director.
One winning sex abuse lawsuit against the Tacoma Boys & Girls Club gave the abuse victim more than $1.5 million in damages. This lawsuit involved a volunteer who sexually abused the victim in the 1980s. The case focused largely on the lack of proper employee training by the Boys & Girls Club that contributed to the incident. In Illinois, public records show at least five sex abuse allegations against local Boys & Girls Clubs. Clubs involved were in Chicago (two counts), Bloomington, Carpentersville, and Carbondale.
Speak to a Boys & Girls Club Sex Abuse Attorney Today
If you or your child has experienced sex abuse at a Boys & Girls Club location, contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC. Our sex abuse attorneys have years of experience handling these claims in Illinois. We can discuss your case during a free 100% confidential consultation at our local law office to help you understand your rights. Let us help you fight back against the grave injustice of child sex abuse. Call (888) 424-5757 today.
- New child sex abuse lawsuit filed against Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich
- Boys & Girls Clubs Sued By Sonoma County Sex Abuse Victims
- Jury awards $1.5 million to man sexually abused as a boy at Tacoma Boys & Girls Club
- Boys & Girls Clubs of America - About Us
- Boys & Girls Clubs of America
- Sexual Abuse
- Effects of Sexual Violence