The North Tonawanda police charged a troop co-leader, and his volunteer wife, with sexually abusing two children.
“This is hugely distressing to all of us at GSWNY. We constantly emphasize the rules and regulations involving adult-Girl Scout interactions, safety and well-being. The troop co-leader passed thorough background checks in 2016 and again in October 2019,” said the Girl Scouts of Western New York (GSWNY) CEO Alison Wilcox.
The following is their complete statement:
By way of relevant background, please know this is the first time that a GSWNY volunteer has been involved in allegations such as these.
Also, our rules state that there are always at least two approved, unrelated, adult volunteers, at least one of whom is a female, with any girl or group of girls following prescribed adult-to-girl ratios. These include co-leaders, chaperones, and troop drivers, all of whom must pass a background check every three years. The father/troop co-leader in this case passed background checks in October 2016, and again in October 2019.
GSWNY has about 15,000 Girl Scouts, and more than 6,000 adult volunteers across its nine counties of operation. There have been no in-person Girl Scout meetings or sanctioned activities since March 15, due to COVID-19.
“First, we at the Girl Scouts of Western New York want to voice our concern for the two children and we want them to have the best-possible care and support. Though we immediately contacted police officials for details, we do not yet know whether the victims are involved in Girl Scouts. Nonetheless, we would reinforce that there is nothing more important to Girl Scouts than the safety and well-being of all children, and we take all such allegations very seriously.”
“This is hugely distressing to all of us at GSWNY. We constantly emphasize the rules and regulations involving adult-Girl Scout interactions, safety and well-being. The troop co-leader passed thorough background checks in 2016 and again in October 2019.
We are unaware of when police say the children’s abuse took place, nor are we aware yet of how the reported abuse came to police attention, or on what evidence they brought charges. Both adults in this case were immediately removed Friday from all GSWNY activities.
We are conducting a rigorous internal investigation, reviewing our regulations, and will cooperate fully with law enforcement.
We ask for privacy for the victims and their families at this difficult time.”