Updated: June 12, 2021 09:50 AM
Created: June 11, 2021 04:34 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A lawsuit filed this week against the city of Albuquerque and a former community center supervisor is revealing more details about alleged sexual abuse that took place at a city summer camp.
Three minors—ages seven, ten, and eleven—claim they were sexually assaulted by a teenage employee at Westgate Community Center in 2019.
“At that summer camp, the city of Albuquerque placed minors in charge of supervising other minors and didn't provide any meaningful adult supervision of those minors,” said Laura Schauer, a civil rights attorney.
“This is sort of a horrific and natural consequence that's kind of expected. You put, you know, 15-year-old boys in charge of little kids and don't watch them. This is an unfortunate and not shocking outcome, frankly,” she added.
Camp participants ranged from ages five to 15 years old, while the supervisors were between 15 and 18 years old.
“There were apparently two adults on the premises who were not carefully supervising about 75 to 100 camp participants,” Schauer said.
The lawsuit also details allegations of physical abuse.
“Camp counselors were hitting the children as hard as they possibly could. They characterized it as a quote unquote game, and these young girls had bruises that would have been visible to anybody,” Schauer said.
The lawsuit claims that supervisors did not report these allegations to law enforcement to be investigated.
“What the parents want the most is for the city to be accountable and for the city to change how it operates these camps. Again, this is like a parents’ worst fear,” she said.
The city said both the Westgate supervisor and the minor accused are no longer employed with the city.
“A detective has been investigating the case for some time,” Schauer said.
The city sent KOB 4 a statement saying it will review the lawsuit once it's been received and that all city staff who interact with youth on a regular basis undergo background checks, receive training from officials on how to spot signs of abuse, and how to correctly report any suspicious activity.
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