Ex-camp counselor, HS employee in Westchester accused of sex abuse

A former camp counselor and high school employee who worked in Westchester is now at the center of a Child Victims Act lawsuit.

News 12 Staff

Sep 11, 2020, 2:04 AM

Updated 1,356 days ago

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A former camp counselor and high school employee who worked in Westchester is now at the center of a Child Victims Act lawsuit.
The 30-plus page suit accuses James Collins of grooming and sexually abusing boys back in the 1980s and 1990s when he was a camp counselor who also worked at the Boys and Girls Club in Mount Kisco and worked at Horace Greeley High School.
Sarah Klein, an attorney representing Scott Roth and the three other men, spoke with News 12.
"Using their names, putting their faces behind their stories for the first time and talking about what happened with them in hopes of getting this guy off the streets and getting him away from children and ensuring the entities who enabled this serial predator are held to account," she says.
The victims say Collins performed massages, genital fondling, oral sex and masturbation on the then-boys.
The Chappaqua Central School District released a statement Thursday saying the employee, a cafeteria monitor and teacher aide resigned back in 1994.
"The safety and well-being of our children is our highest priority. As such, the accusations in the complaint are deeply disturbing, regardless of when they are alleged to have occurred. We will cooperate fully with the authorities involved in this matter."
A Collins family member told News 12 they were unaware of the lawsuit and denied the allegations.
Klein is asking for any other possible victims to reach out to her office.
In a statement to News 12, The Boys and Girls Club of Northern Westchester says:
"The safety and protection of the children we serve is always our number one priority, and we take any allegation that might impact the well-being of youth entrusted to our care very seriously. The Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester is aware of recent civil claims regarding allegations of sexual misconduct involving minors that took place more than 30 years ago. We are deeply heartbroken for any child who has been harmed and understand that time does not take away any pain inflicted on victims and their families. Crimes of abuse run counter to everything our organization stands for, and it is completely unacceptable that harm come to any child under any circumstances.
The Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester has robust and comprehensive safety policies and protocols that are continuously enhanced. These include strict policies that prohibit one-on-one interaction between staff and Club youth, the completion of mandatory reporter training during the onboarding process, enforcement of appropriate staff to child ratios, and much more. All staff and volunteers must undergo criminal background checks prior to hire and annually and, as mandated reporters, all staff are required to report any suspected abuse or misconduct immediately to Club leadership and the appropriate authorities. In July, local Boys & Girls Clubs voted to adopt additional safety measures to further improve safety within our Clubs. Many of these practices were already in place, however, Boys & Girls Clubs determined these practices should be mandatory for all Clubs. These measures include strengthening of the reference check requirement for prospective staff or volunteers, enhancing the existing requirements around “barrier crimes” that prohibit job candidates from working or volunteering at a Club, standardizing all Clubs’ Safety Committees to ensure accountability, formalizing the requirement that Club’s prominently display key safety resources and information, and more.
In addition, our organization is a New York state licensed childcare facility, whereby we care for children in accordance with all rules and regulations under OCFS ( Office of Children and Family Services ), and serve kids ages 3-18. During the summer months, we provide programming under the direction of Westchester County and the Department of Health, and continuously exceed all safety rules and regulations set forth by these entities at all times.
Our commitment to the safety of young people is unyielding, and The Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester will never stop doing whatever it takes to continually enhance our safety practices to protect kids."


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