The Greater Buffalo YMCA is being sued for gross negligence in the case of a young camper last summer. The then 11-year-old girl with special needs was allegedly raped by a teen camp counselor, 17. She gave birth to a boy this March.
The girl claimed to have been assaulted twice by the camp counselor at the William Emslie Y's Summer Camp. The young girl's second assault was witnessed by an adult supervisor but after an internal investigation choose to believe the teenage counselor.
The family's attorney John Elmore told KPLC TV, "They did their own internal investigation, and chose to believe the perpetrator, who claimed, at the time, nothing happened, rather than the person who witnessed it." Elmore also said, "They had a legal obligation to notify the police department, the child protection authorities and they neglected to do that."
The YMCA of Greater Buffalo failed to notify the police at the time of the attack. In a statement the YMCA said that they had no knowledge of the attack or resulting pregnancy until April 2011 when they received the summons from the law firm reports WIVB.
"...an incident involving inappropriate conduct between a camper and an employee of the Buffalo Summer Youth Employment Program. The employee was removed from the YMCA and the incident was reported to the parent of the child involved. There was no report of rape or pregnancy to the YMCA until late April 2011 upon the arrival of a summons from the law firm."
According to Buffalo News Martel A. Jones, 18, was charged in a criminal complaint with third-degree rape. That case has not yet been presented to a grand jury. Because the incident took place when Jones was 17 his charges are lesser than that of an adult reports Buffalo News.
"If he was 18 at the time of the incident, he could be facing much more serious charges, possibly 25 years in prison," said Michael G. O'Rourke, the defense attorney in Jones' criminal case. "From my understanding of the case, there was no forcible contact between him and the girl ... and they were together on more than one occasion."
"It is our understanding that another employee witnessed this incident, and told superiors about it," Elmore said. "The YMCA fired [Jones] but never reported this sexual attack to the police."
Elmore said that while his client's mother was notified that there was an incident at the camp and that an employee had been fired she was not told that it was of a sexual nature. The mother discovered the pregnancy when her daughter began to gain weight.
"She had no idea that her daughter had been raped, or that she was pregnant until December, when she noticed her daughter's belly was getting larger," Elmore said. "She took her daughter to the doctor, and found out that the girl was pregnant and that she had a sexually transmitted disease."
John D. Murray, president and chief executive officer of the YMCA of Greater Buffalo said that the suspect was an employee of Buffalo Summer Youth Employment Program of the Workplace Corporation of Buffalo and Erie County in July 2010.
The infant was born premature with respiratory problems. He remains in hospital.