YMCA facing second allegation of child abuse

Couple says daughter was abused at different facility on same day

By Emily Gillespie, Columbian Breaking News Reporter



A second Vancouver couple says that their daughter was allegedly abused while she was being supervised at a Vancouver YMCA.

The parents of a 17-month old girl discovered bruising on their daughter’s buttocks and upper thigh after she had spent the day at Orchards YMCA Child Development Center at 10401 N.E. Fourth Plain Road, according to the parent’s personal injury attorney Michael Beaty.

On Oct. 4, the girl was at the day care facility roughly between 6:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Beaty said. It wasn’t until the parents changed the girl’s diaper about 6:30 p.m., Beaty said, that they discovered the black-and-blue injuries.

Her parents took her to Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center, where police became involved.

Vancouver Police Department spokeswoman Kim Kapp confirmed that officers responded to the report of alleged child abuse, but that investigators have not yet determined exactly what happened or where the incident took place.

Bruce Patton, vice president for YMCA of Columbia-Willamette, declined to comment on the new allegation.

The alleged child abuse was reported on the same day that another child was allegedly abused at a different YMCA less than a mile away.

In that case, parents of a 2-year-old girl were attending “Parents Night Out,” at the Clark County Family YMCA, 11324 N.E. 51st Circle.

Those parents also took their daughter to Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center, where they were met by officers from the Vancouver Police Department.

Kapp said that both cases have been forwarded to investigators at the Arthur D. Curtis Children’s Justice Center where authorities are investigating the allegations. No arrests have been made in either case, Kapp said.

Child Protective Services is also investigating the alleged incident at the Orchards YMCA Child Development Center on Fourth Plain. In the meantime, the state Department of Early Learning will not refer new clients to the center, said Kara Klotz, a spokeswoman for the agency.

The Department of Early Learning, which regulates home- and center-based child care, has documented nine violations at the center since 2007, including failing to supervise and improper physical restraint of a child.

The YMCA’s Springfield Meadows Child Development Center, 4317 N.E. 66th Ave., has had five violations since 2007. Details are available on the department’s website at http://www.del.wa.gov/.

The state agency does not regulate drop-in child care programs at gyms like the one at the Clark County Family YMCA.

Beaty said that the parents of the 17-month-old girl are in the process of filing a civil claim against the YMCA of Columbia-Willamette, which operates the Orchards YMCA Child Development Center.

“My client wants to make sure that the employer is held accountable,” Beaty said. “There was some sort of culture at the Y that allowed this to happen.”

Another reason his clients are taking action, Beaty said, is that they are “concerned about the other parents that might have children in the day care.”

Reporter Erin Middlewood contributed to this story.

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