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Lawsuit against The Boys & Girls Club of Kern County claims member was sexually assaulted

Posted at 10:56 PM, Oct 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-26 01:56:37-04

Tonight on 23ABC News at 11 p.m. the Boys and Girls club of Kern County is facing a civil lawsuit claiming the club didn't do enough to protect a young boy from allegedly being sexually assaulted by an older club member. 

The lawsuit is scheduled to go to trial next week. 

23ABC obtained a copy of the lawsuit which claims the Boys and Girls Club on Niles Street failed to protect a six year old boy from allegedly being sexually assaulted by another member inside one of the club's bathrooms. 

Documents show between May 31, 2016 and June 6, 2016 the boy was sexually assaulted multiple times by an older club member. 

Details say the six year old was forced into a bathroom stall where he was sodomized, touch inappropriately and forced to touch an older boy.

It claims during one instance, a staff member walked into the bathroom and told the alleged victim to "pull your pants up and be quiet."

The family is suing on behalf of the boy claiming the Boys and Girls Club didn't follow their training on how to prevent peer-on-peer sexual assault.

It also claims local law enforcement asked the club to internally investigate the claim and to notify parents, but that did not happen.  

Documents show on June 10th, 2016 the Bakersfield Police Department notified a staff member at the Boys and Girls Club that they were investigating a possible sexual assault at their club in one of the bathrooms.   

Officers reportedly asked the employee to ask staff if they "witnessed anything that may have initially appeared innocent or slightly suspicious." 

The lawsuit claims staff members were never asked.  

Officers recontacted the same employee hours later and told them the alleged victim was unable to identify the suspect, but suggested the club notify parents of the incident anyway. The staff member reportedly told the officer they would, but the lawsuit claims parents were never told.  

In an internal email from the club, it shows an employee asking whether the club should notify parents of the incident asking, "because it's just an open case and they don't know for sure what happened, should we send a letter out?" 

The lawsuit claims the Boys and Girls Club of Kern County is at fault because they didn't follow their required annual training and take steps to prevent the alleged sexual assault from happening. 

There are several ways the lawsuit claims the club didn't protect the boy.  

First, it claims there is supposed to be a ratio of  20 kids to 1 adult, but during the time of the alleged assaults, documents claim that ratio was exceeded and children were rotated from one activity leader to another. It claims there was confusion over who was responsible for which child.  

Second, documents show the training on how to prevent peer-to-peer sexual assault in the bathroom gives specific steps for staff.  

It suggests staff members should do things such as escorting children to the bathroom, not allowing older kids in the bathroom at the same time as younger children and never allowing a child to use the bathroom without asking permission first.  

Documents claim none of those precautions were taken and claims it was only after the alleged assault that the club re-implemented ways to monitor the bathrooms.  

The lawsuit cites an internal email from the Boys and Girls Club on the day they were notified of the investigation by Bakersfield police where it says, "We have once again started the sign off sheets for bathrooms." Going on to say, "The members have been helping us by letting us know when there are big groups in there, however we need to have a better system so I have brought back the sign-in and out sheets."  

Now the family is suing on behalf of the six year old and asking for damages including medical expenses, emotional distress, loss of quality of life and more.  

23ABC reached out to the Boys and Girls Club on Niles street for a comment, but we were directed us to their lawyers. 23ABC reached out to the law firm representing the club on multiple occasions and have not heard back. 

The trial for the lawsuit is expected to begin on Monday.