This child welfare case takes place in Kansas and involves a minor who became a member of a mentoring program due to an unstable family home life – including a single mother and an absent father. The mentor that the child was paired with routinely took the child on private outings, separate from other group members. During the course of their relationship, which spanned nearly a decade, the mentor repeatedly sexually assaulted and molested the child. The child feared for his safety, and as a result never reported the man to authorities. Sadly, no measures of protocol or screening were ever taken by the mentoring program to ensure that this man had no history of sexual assault or misconduct. Nor did any representatives from the organization initiate additional screening of the child to ensure his safety in creating an ongoing relationship with a mentor. It was later discovered that numerous other young men were sexually abused by this same mentor. It is also alleged that had the organization had taken more adequate safety and screening measures, the mentor in question would have been discovered as a potential threat far sooner.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Have you ever created policies / protocol pertaining to safety / screening for mentorship 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-007302
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 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 Dept. of Health and Human Services. These guidelines pose a challenge for organizations 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 been retained as an expert in a coaching molestation case before, though I was not deposed as the case resolved prior to trial.