Lawyers for four teens and young men who allege they were molested by a now-convicted pedophile working for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley have filed suit against the organization, saying officials failed to protect them and repeatedly overlooked “red flags” about his conduct with boys as young as 6.
From frequently putting his hands on young clients to regularly taking them on overnight outings and requiring them to disrobe in his presence, Paul Dwayne Kilgore, now 71, provided “clear and obvious signs” of inappropriate sexual relationships, the suit claims.
But even as club officials acknowledged concerns about Kilgore’s behavior over the years and internally discussed imposing boundaries on him, they repeatedly failed to follow through or take appropriate steps to determine what he was doing with the children, according to the Nov. 30 lawsuit filed by Taylor & Ring, a Los Angeles-based law firm.
When Kilgore missed every question on the club’s “Sexual Harassment Test” in 2006, he received no feedback or training, the lawsuit states.
Club officials also ignored reports like one in 2007 from a fifth-grade boy who objected that he and others were required to strip in a public pool locker in front of Kilgore and each other while he commented about their private parts, the suit says. Kilgore, the club’s athletic director, also was naked at the time. The same child renewed his complaint in 2010, reminding the staff that he and some other boys referred to Kilgore as “the abuser” because of this incident.
The suit says Boys & Girls Club staffers failed in their role as “mandatory reporters” of child abuse and were negligent in their supervision of children entrusted to their care. It claimed the organization “turned a blind-eye” when Kilgore left the Sonoma Valley club under pressure and went to work at a sister organization in Petaluma, where it alleges he continued to abuse two of his Sonoma Valley victims.
“The outrageous part of the case is that this Boys and Girls Club knew back in the early 2000s that they had problems with this guy, and every step of the way, they just ignored it — blew it off, pretended like it wasn’t an issue,” lead attorney David Ring said in an interview Tuesday. “And then they started internally realizing they had a problem, and then they still didn’t tell the parents about it and they forced him to resign, and he just jumped over to the neighboring Boys & Girls Club.”
Cary Leigh Dacy, current president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sonoma Valley, issued a statement saying her “organization cooperated fully with authorities throughout the investigation and judicial process that led to this conviction, and we will continue to do so in any future proceedings.”
“The safety and protection of the children we serve remains the number one priority of Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley. Our organization is committed to the highest standards of integrity and ethical behavior and does not tolerate inappropriate or illegal activity on the part of any Club staff, volunteer or youth member. All employees and volunteers must undergo a thorough criminal background check,” the statement said.
Ring’s clients, now 14, 16, 19 and 22, were agesd 6 to 10 when their molestation began by a man they knew as their coach and mentor through the nonprofit club for disadvantaged young people, the suit said.