BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The Facebook page of a 12-year-old girl took center stage in a lawsuit accusing the YMCA of negligence after the girl claimed she was raped by a summer camp counselor.
That camp counselor is charged with raping the girl, who is now a 12-year-old mother. Her family is suing the YMCA of Greater Buffalo, claiming the Y was negligent in its hiring of staff at the Ellicott-Masten Y, where the incident took place, and failing to protect her from a camp counselor.
Court papers claim the rape took place in the sauna room at the Ellicott-Masten YMCA, last July. The camp counselor, 18-year-old Martel Jones, is now charged with raping the girl, known as "Jane Doe," who was only 11 at the time and impregnating her. But the lawsuit and the criminal case are raising important questions and an attorney for the Y believes the girl's Facebook account might provide some answers.
YMCA attorney Michael Applebaum said, "There has been information that has come into the YMCA that suggest the allegations in the plaintiff's complaint may not be as they are alleged. All we're trying to do is find out the truth of what happened."
The family's attorney, John Elmore, likened the opening of the girl's Facebook to a fishing expedition.
"The courts do not allow a fishing expedition. And so, to protect the privacy rights and to stay consistent with New York state law, the judge ruled he will review all of Jane Doe's Facebook records and determine whether or not they're relevant to this lawsuit," said Elmore.
But some of the issues, already showing up in court records, are statements attributed to the girl and her mother suggesting Jones is not the father and sexual encounters between Jones and Jane Doe may have occurred outside of the Y. Opening the girl's Facebook account also exposes all of her communications with her Facebook "friends" and attorneys claim, at one time Jane Doe listed more than 800.
Applebaum said, "The most important thing is from the plaintiff's standpoint and from my standpoint, frankly, is to maintain this young girl's privacy. Every paper that I've filed in this case has redacted her name. I'm very mindful of the fact that this is an 11-year-old girl, and I have every intention of maintaining her privacy."
Martel Jones, the former camp counselor, has a felony hearing scheduled for later this month. The issue there? If Jones is not indicted by then, Jane Doe might have testify in court or the charges against Jones might have to be dropped.
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