YMCA of Silicon Valley Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

Update. The case against the YMCA of Silicon Valley was successfully settled for a confidential amount of money.

The original story:

Sexual Abuse lawsuit claims that the YMCA of Silicon Valley illegally provided accused child molester Nicolas Lhermine with unsupervised access to young children leading to the sexual abuse of a 6-year-old.

Attorneys Robert Allard and Lauren Cerri of the San Jose, CA law firm of Cerri, Boskovich & Allard have filed a sexual abuse lawsuit against the YMCA of Silicon Valley. The lawsuit alleges that the YMCA of Silicon Valley gave accused child predator Nicolas Lhermine unsupervised access to young children. Thus, enabling him to sexually molest then six-year-old Jane Doe.

The lawsuit further alleges that the YMCA of Silicon Valley violated state law. They failed to ensure that Lhermine only worked under the direct supervision of a qualified teacher. They further failed to ensure that he was never left alone with children. According to the complaint, Lhermine was repeatedly allowed to supervise children alone in violation of California regulations. And the YMCA’s own internal policies.

Unsupervised Access

The lawsuit states that Lhermine took advantage of being left unsupervised with 15-20 children at the YMCA’s Paradise Valley Center. He took Jane Doe into the bathroom alone, where he then instructed her to close her eyes and open her mouth before sexually molesting her. According to the complaint, Lhermine was left alone with Jane Doe and other young children that afternoon. Meanwhile, the supervising teacher was performing housekeeping duties instead of supervising Lhermine, as required by law. The law is intended to protect children by prohibiting supervising teachers from performing housekeeping duties that detract from their responsibilities.

The complaint further states that the YMCA violated the law by failing to provide a fully qualified teacher to maintain responsibility for the overall operation of the facility under the direction and supervision of the director of the child care center. The State of California's Community Care Licensing division had previously fined the YMCA for numerous violations.

Staffing Levels

The lawsuit alleges that, prior to the July 12, 2013 molestation, several employees of the Mt. Madonna YMCA complained on numerous occasions about the lack of legally appropriate staffing levels. However, the YMCA ignored these claims. The complaining employees were terminated from their employment with the YMCA approximately six weeks prior to Jane Doe being molested. On May 16, 2014, three of these former employees of the YMCA Mt. Madonna filed a wrongful termination and whistle blower retaliation lawsuit against the YMCA of Silicon Valley.

The YMCA of Silicon Valley is responsible for the administration of 12 Association Centers in the area including the Mt. Madonna YMCA. These entities operated the YMCA-Paradise Valley summer childcare daycamp on the premises of Paradise Valley Elementary School in Morgan Hill. The lawsuit claims that Lhermine was hired as an aide in February of 2011; that Lhermine had taken a photograph of a 5-year-old's genitalia the same day that Jane Doe was molested; and that Lhermine sexually abused two other children, aged 7 and 3, respectively, the day before he molested Jane Doe.

Similarities to case against Child Development Inc.

According to Jane Doe’s attorney, Robert Allard, the case against the YMCA of Silicon Valley has many similarities the case brought against Child Development, Inc.. That case concerned sexual abuse by CDI employee Keith Woodhouse. According to Mr. Allard, "Even though other similarly-situated daycare providers have been held publicly accountable for their actions, the YMCA of Silicon Valley did not hear the message. The law is quite clear in that an aide must work under the direct supervision of a qualified teacher and must never be left alone with children. Based on our investigation, Nicolas Lhermine was given routine and unfettered access to children alone, allowing him to molest children at a daycare center. We intend to hold the YMCA of Silicon Valley fully accountable for failing to follow the law and protect children from a pedophile."

Childhood sexual abuse studies show that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men were sexually abused before the age of 18. That means that there are more than 42 million adult survivors of child sexual abuse in the United States. Children between three and eight years of age are the most vulnerable. Experts believe that the younger the sexual abuse victim is, the more psychological and emotional damage the individual will suffer.

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