BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Why didn't the YMCA report an alleged sexual attack between a camp counselor and a young girl?
The incident occurred during a YMCA summer camp last year. The girl has since given birth and has been treated for a sexually transmitted disease. That was nearly a year ago, but it was only last month that authorities were alerted, and the camp counselor arrested.
The 11-year-old girl's ordeal began during summer camp at the former William Emslie YMCA, now called the Ellicott Masten Branch. A teenage camp counselor, Martel Jones, admits to sexually assaulting the 11-year-old camper, twice, according to court documents. The girl became pregnant, gave birth to a baby boy in March, and is also infected with a sexually transmitted disease.
Attorney for the girl and her family John Elmore said, "It was a low weight baby, and as I speak, that baby boy is in Children's Hospital because his lungs are underdeveloped and is experiencing breathing problems."
Elmore, of the Brown Chiari Law Firm, is suing the YMCA for gross negligence in not protecting the 11-year-old, who is a special education student. But none of the incidents was ever reported to authorities, even though staff notified their executive director and Jones was fired a short time later.
News 4 has learned Kenneth Pryor was the Ellicott Masten Branch director at the time. Pryor is known for his work as an anti-violence activist and met briefly with us, saying he would explain why reports of possible abuse by the counselor were not sent up the chain of command.
Pryor was terminated from his position earlier this year and says he is suing the YMCA corporation for wrongful termination, but declined an on-camera interview. In a written statement, the YMCA of Buffalo Niagara says they were unaware of these issues until they were served with court papers last month. They are cooperating fully with authorities and have already launched an internal investigation.
Elmore said, "Perhaps this 11-year-old could have had some prenatal care, which she didn't, and perhaps the venereal disease she was infected with could have been cured."
Martel Jones is charged with two counts of first degree rape because the girl was under 13-years-old. While the charges claim Jones was at least 18-years-old at the time he assaulted the girl, records indicate Jones might have been 17. He is due back in court on Thursday.
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