Second family files suit against YMCA, family of alleged child molester
JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE) – Another family has filed suit against the YMCA of Greater Louisville and the Begin family for their role in the alleged child molestation that happened there.
Michael Begin, 18, was charged with molesting 17 girls between the ages of three and seven-years-old while working at the Clark County YMCA and Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in the criminal case.
Larry Wilder, the attorney representing two victims in civil tort cases, said Greater Clark County Schools will likely be added to the cases at a later date. Since the district is considered a government entity, Wilder explained that he has to first provide them a notice of the tort claim. He said he's done so and they now have 90 days to either settle the claim or not. If they don't, the district can then be added to the suit.
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Months after Begin Jr. was allegedly molesting her young daughter, a mother is suing the YMCA, Begin Jr., and his parents, Michael and Maria Begin, for negligence. Begin is also charged with intentional tort/criminal activity/battery in the civil case.
"Each day she brought her child in and she stayed there on the property where she was working and of course, she was molested while she was there on property," Wilder said.
"And it shows just how far-reaching and pervasive what was happening is, is this young lady's mother is actually an employee of the YMCA," Wilder said.
Court documents say the girl was first molested in June with police investigations at Thomas Jefferson Elementary beginning in August and at the Clark County YMCA in September. The girl continued to be molested by Begin until October 18, according to the court documents.
Wilder said that means there's a gap of time from when the police investigation began when Begin's parents and the YMCA were notified and when Begin was removed from the YMCA.
"We believe it was sometime in August. So from sometime in August from sometime in October, there's a period of time, there's a concern of what was happening," Wilder said.
The allegations state his parents, Michael and Maria Begin, were negligent by failing to report to the school or to the YMCA that their son was being investigated for potentially molesting children. Court documents assert Maria Begin told Jeffersonville Police "something was a little bit off" about her son, Michael Begin Jr.
The allegations said the YMCA was negligent by not properly supervising Begin's activities with the children and by not terminating him when they were notified he was potentially molesting children.
Wilder claims that the YMCA wasn't doing enough to protect children and that needs to change.
"With this one individual being able to do the things he was doing to these children in this space, it speaks to the fact that their processes failed," Wilder said.
This civil case and others will continue to be filed individually because this provides more options for victims and families who do choose to move forward with civil cases and because each individual molestation case here is different, Wilder stated.
"So there's enough personal facts that differentiate each case. However the basic underlying facts are these young women, among others likely, were molested by this same individual. Many of which were at the YMCA, some of which were at Greater Clark County Schools," Wilder said.
Unlike the criminal case where the charges facing Begin will need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, the allegations in the civil case will need to be proven by a greater weight of the evidence. In the civil cases, monetary damages for victims and changes from the institutions will be sought, Wilder said.
WAVE 3 News reached out to the YMCA of Greater Louisville inquiring about its surveillance video and staffing policies at the Clark County and other locations, they sent back a statement from CEO Steve Tarver that reads:
"We are very limited in what we can say concerning pending litigation so as not to affect the regular judicial process, with which we are cooperating. However, as soon as the allegations emerged, we immediately suspended the employee and reported the incident to the authorities. Subsequently, the employee was terminated without returning to service at any time. We continue to review and evaluate policies and procedures."
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