Local News

Raleigh mom says son was pinned to ground, assaulted at YMCA camp

Posted July 6, 2016 6:51 p.m. EDT
Updated July 6, 2016 6:52 p.m. EDT

— There is growing concern among parents, and an ongoing police investigation, after a Raleigh mom said she saw her 6-year-old son being assaulted by two older boys at a Triangle YMCA.

Justine McGuire said she walked into the gym at the A.E. Finley YMCA last week and found her 6-year-old pinned to the ground and assaulted in the groin by two older boys.

"I got there and I found him lying on the ground and his back was next to one of the benches," she said. "One of the boys was holding him down to the ground with his feet on his chest while the other little boy pulled his genitals out of the bottom of his gym shorts and then sat on his face."

McGuire said her son wears a hearing aid and has epilepsy.

But she said her concern skyrocketed when she was told that one of the boys wouldn't be punished at all, and the camp director told her not to contact police.

"The camp director basically told me, 'I know it's gross, but boys will be boys and horseplay is typical at this age' and I may have been overreacting," she said.

McGuire said she disagreed and called authorities.

A Raleigh police spokesperson said they are actively investigating the allegations of assault.

In the meantime, McGuire's story has gained traction on social media where other parents have shared similar stories.

Tasha Bullock says her 8-year-old daughter was assaulted by another child at the same YMCA last fall. She too said the camp director discouraged her from calling police.

"A little boy lifted up her dress and tried to touch her in her private areas under her underwear," Bullock said. "I'm telling (the camp director) I am about to call the police, and he is like, 'Oh, police aren't needed.'"

A YMCA spokesperson released a statement Wednesday that said, "We have been in close contact with parents, our staff and local authorities, and are fully cooperating with the investigation. The children alleged to be involved in the situation are not part of camp at this time."

A letter was also sent home to parents, but officials declined to release any additional specific information about the incident.

YMCA code of conduct prohibits harassment of any kind.