In California, concerned parents created a petition asking Governor Brown and Senator Harris to prevent Boys and Girls Clubs from seeking “exemptions” from state law that govern after-school programs.  According to the petition,

If you Google Boys & Girls Clubs and abuse, you will find a horrifying pattern across the country: children are being abused, the abusers were often already suspected and reported, and Boys & Girls Clubs conducts their own investigations, instead of going to the police.  The children need therapy; instead, they are shunned, shamed, and silenced. Frequently, the perpetrators are not turned in, which allows them to continue harming more and more children.  Since Boys & Girls Clubs are nonprofit organizations, they use donations and public funds.  The money should be used to support children, not to support the defense of sex abuse of children.

BGCA Exemptions Lead To Unsafe Environments

In Texas, organizations like the Boys and Girls Clubs can apply for the same kind of exemptions.  But should they be granted?  According to a March 19 Associated Press report, “Reports of sexual abuse have recently surfaced at Boys & Girls Clubs in Connecticut, New York, New Hampshire, Virginia, Illinois, Oregon, Nevada, California and Hawaii.”  In Texas, a quick Google search reveals reports of child sex abuse, including sexual assaults and child pornography, at Boys and Girls Clubs in Collin County, Lubbock County, Nueces County, Starr County, and Tarrant County.

It’s no wonder that the Boys and Girls Clubs want to avoid regulation of their after-school programs.  Indeed, the same Google search showed the many insurance companies that want to sell sexual assault coverage to groups like the Boys and Girls Club.  But the simple truth is that—from the perspective of the child victims—the Boys and Girls Club should “Stand by Me,” and not stand by lawyers and insurance companies.  That’s what safe child care is meant to be.

BGCA Unconcerned With Child Safety

But at the Boys and Girls Clubs, it’s business as usual, with a willingness to tolerate unsafe conditions for our children.  Here’s an example.  In 2013, the Boys and Girls Club of Huntington Valley was a defendant in a jury trial where an 8-year-old was sexually assaulted by a 10-year-old in a bathroom.  The victim’s lawyer alleged that the Boys and Girls Club was negligent in its supervision of the bathroom.  Despite allowing a rape to occur in its Club, the Boys and Girls Club offered $60,000 to settle the claim.  But here’s the deal, juries know the truth.  At the end of the trial, the jury ordered the Boys and Girls Club to pay $12,500 for future counseling costs and $1.4 million for past and future emotional distress.  Yet even after that ton of bricks hits the Boys and Girls Clubs, similar assaults continue.  This is hardly a business that needs less regulation.  It needs more.

Resources For You

The California petition may be found here:  

https://www.change.org/p/kamala-harris-license-boys-girls-clubs-to-keep-children-safe.  

The Associated press article is here: 

https://www.apnews.com/5323ed54a17a422bb623746de428a749

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