A child abuse and child welfare expert witness opines on the sexual abuse of a minor who was participating in a mentoring program. This case involves a minor who became a member of a mentoring charity program, sustained by nonprofit fundraising, due to her unstable family home life. She had spent the majority of her childhood in and out of foster care homes due to her parents’ chronic drug and alcohol abuse. The mentor that the girl was paired with routinely took her on private outings, separate from other group members. During the course of a ten year relationship, the mentor sexually assaulted and molested the child. The child feared for her safety and so did not report the man to authorities until after she was no longer affiliated with the charity program. Sadly, no additional measures of protocol or screening were ever taken by the organization to ensure that this individual had no history of sexual assault or misconduct. Nor did any representatives from the organization ever initiate additional screening of the child, to ensure her safety in furthering a relationship with the mentor. It was later discovered that numerous other young girls were sexually abused by this individual whilst serving as a mentor. It was alleged that if the organization had taken more adequate safety and screening measures, the mentor in question would have been discovered as an abuser far sooner.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Have you ever created policies/protocol pertaining to safety/screening for these type of organizations, which serve as role models for at risk youth?
- 2. If so, are there additional safety measures which need to be taken to ensure that a relationship hasn't passed reasonable boundaries?
- 3. Have you ever served as an expert witness on a case involving sexual abuse?
Expert Witness Response E-007307
I have experience providing consulting services to youth associations regarding risk management, including child protection policies. I have reviewed various policies and created some policies for organizations, although the bulk of my work has been either with the organization as a director or, as at a present, on the issue of risk management and child protection. There are fairly well established guidelines for youth serving organizations put forth by the Department of Health and Human Services. These guidelines pose a challenge for organizations, like this one, that establish one on one relationships. If an organization’s policies permit one on one contact, volunteer screening and management, along with parent education and reporting procedures become far more important. The at risk nature of the youth clients also demands a much higher level of screening and management, as the client profile fits the typical victim profile of a child predator. I have previously been retained as an expert in a coaching molestation case.