A man, identified as P.N., filed a lawsuit against YMCA, claiming he was sexually abused by a counselor at Camp Seymour in the 1970s and that organization failed to stop it.
The 49-year-old thinks he suffered abuse at the camp between his first and second grade year. He said he doesn’t remember the name of the counselor who abused him, but that he would be able to recognize his face.
“My client feels strongly about obtaining some form of justice,” said his attorney, Lincoln Beauregard.
According to the lawsuit, the YMCA knew that two camp counselors were sexually abusing the boys, but the camp director continued to recommend that they be rehired.
The lawsuits also claims the camp director was “taking advantage of the camp to groom young, teenage, female campers for sex and was having sex simultaneously with 13- and 14-year-old junior counselors and 15-, 16- and 17-year-old counselors.”
A former camp counselor who worked at Camp Seymour in the 1970s signed an affidavit in 1983 that said he told the former head of YMCA about an incident in 1975 involving a camp counselor in a sleeping bag with a small boy.
The former counselor also recalls a time in 1975 when a man brought a gun to the camp and threatened to kill the counselor who molested his son.
Randy Tollefson, one of the counselors accused of sexual abuse, was convicted of sex crimes against children in Pierce and King counties later. He served 16 years in prison and then was sent to the state’s center for sexually violent predators on McNeil Island.
The YMCA released a statement that said they conduct background checks for all their staff members and volunteers, and screen members and guests through a local and national sex offender registry when they come to the facilities. They also screen the membership data every month for sexual offenders.
“We are heartbroken that any child may have suffered harm while in our care, no matter how long ago,” the statement added.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.
If you or someone you care about has been sexually abused, it may be in your best interest to reach out to one of the compassionate peronsal injury lawyers at Cohen & Cohen