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Lawsuit Targets St. Louis YMCA for Sex Abuse During 1980s Swim Lessons

The abuse took place during swim lessons at Mid-County YMCA in Brentwood in 1986 or 1987, according to the lawsuit.

A lawsuit filed against the YMCA of Greater St. Louis alleges an unidentified swim instructor sexually abused two young boys in 1986 or 1987 during lessons at the Mid-County branch in Brentwood.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) announced the lawsuit Wednesday.

According to the suit, the two plaintiffs, referred to as John Doe A and John Doe B, do not remember the instructor’s name. They did not know if the instructor worked for the YMCA or acted as a volunteer.

The abuse occurred almost every lesson, which occurred weekly for about a year, according to the suit. The lawsuit states the plaintiffs took semi-private swim lessons as boys, and they were the only two taking part in the lessons with the instructor.

According to the suit, the instructor groomed them as victims by showing them pornography, talking graphically about sex and acting like a big brother to the boys before beginning to sexually abuse them.

The suit alleges that YMCA officials “knew or should have known the swimming instructor was sexually dangerous. It also states the organization failed to provide adequate supervision to prevent the abuse.”

The YMCA released a statement indicating the organization does not comment on pending litigation, and said it had not been served with a copy of the suit as of Wednesday.  However, the statement said the YMCA’s “top priority is the safety and security of our members and program participants.”

"The YMCA of Greater St. Louis had no previous knowledge of these claims before (Wednesday’s) public announcement,” according to the statement.

Updated on Feb. 11.

Brentwood Assistant Chief of Police Dan Fitzgerald said since the suspect is not named, the department's records can't be searched, so he can't say for sure if the case was investigated or not. He also said, "Unfortunately, these crimes are not always reported to the police."

Judy Jones February 08, 2013 at 06:34 PM
Let's hope that every person who saw, suspected or may have been harmed by anyone at the YMCA at Mid-County branch in Brentwood, will find the courage and strength to speak up and contact police, no matter how long ago the abuse happened. Keep in mind your silence only hurts, and by speaking up there is a chance for healing, exposing the truth, and therefore protecting others. Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511. snapjudy@gmail.com, "SNAP (The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) is the world's oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 12,000 members. Despite the word priest in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, teachers, Protestant ministers and increasingly, victims who were assaulted in a wide range of institutional settings like orphanages, summer camps, athletic programs, Boy Scouts, etc."
Doug Miner February 11, 2013 at 06:23 PM
Just updated this article with information from Brentwood assist. chief Dan Fitzgerald that since a suspect wasn't named, the department's records can't be easily searched, so he can't say for sure if this was investigated or not.
George Scott February 18, 2013 at 08:41 PM
Lets make sure the SNAP itims who were kissed, hugged and otherwise terribly abused and so seriously injured can create havoc on those vicious insidious nasty violent people get their money! and their momments of fame. We all need to feel very very bad for these seriously mangled, tortured victims of torture. This is worse than waterboarding.

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