(WIVB) – A North Tonawanda Girl Scout troop leader and his wife are facing charges after the man allegedly sexually abused two children in North Tonawanda.
Marty and Shani Walton were both virtually arraigned Friday in Niagara County Court.
Marty is charged with two counts of first degree sexual abuse and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Shani is charged with two counts of endangering a child.
Both pleaded not guilty to the charges on Friday.
The victims in the case are eight and nine years old. At Friday’s arraignment, a judge ordered a full order of protection for both victims.
Niagara County District Attorney Caroline Wojtaszek said that parents expect their children to be safe while with their troop leaders. She’s urging anyone who might have additional information to come forward.
Marty Walton is being held on $20,000 bail. If convicted, he could face up to 14 years in prison.
Shani is facing up to four years if convicted.
The Amherst Police Department is also investigating other alleged incidents involving the Waltons.
On Saturday, the Girl Scouts of Western New York said in a statement that both adults were removed from all GSWNY activities on Friday and the organization is conducting an internal investigation, reviewing its regulations, and will cooperate fully with law enforcement.
They added that this is the first time a GSWNY volunteer has been involved in this type of allegations.
“Our rules state that there are always at least two approved, unrelated, adult volunteers, at least one of whom is a female, with any girl or group of girls following prescribed adult-to-girl ratios”, the statement says.
All GSWNY troop co-leaders, chaperones, and troop drivers are subjected to a background check every three years. Walton passed background checks in Oct. 2016 and Oct. 2019, the statement says.
The GSWNY has reached out to police officials for details, and they don’t yet know whether the victims were Girl Scouts, CEO Alison Wilcox said.
“We would reinforce that there is nothing more important to Girl Scouts than the safety and well-being of all children, and we take all such allegations very seriously,” Wilcox said. “We ask for privacy for the victims and their families at this difficult time.”