Former Old Town Boys Club director facing sexual abuse allegations
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A former director of the Old Town Boys Club, within the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central New Mexico, was named in a civil complaint against the organization Thursday.
Dominic Yannoni, the director of the club in the 1980s and ’90s, is facing allegations of sexual abuse against minors.
The alleged abuse happened during his time as the director, but at least one victim is coming forward now.
The ten-page civil complaint outlines allegations from John Doe 13, a man born in 1976.
The complaint states that he “spent a great deal of time at the Old Town Boys Club as a child,” and that he worked there as a junior and senior counselor, all under the direction of Yannoni.
The complaint says, "Plaintiff was sexually groomed, manipulated, and abused by Dominic Yannoni for several years, beginning when Plaintiff was in the fifth grade."
The complaint also says that this plaintiff wasn’t the only one.
It alleges, “Dominic Yannoni took advantage of the substantial power vested in him as the director of the Old Town Boys Club to manipulate vulnerable and impoverished boys like Plaintiff into performing sexual acts, often in exchange for access to food, facilities, shoes, or money for their families.”
"One of the most damaging things about childhood sexual abuse is the burden that it forces kids to carry for years or for decades before they’re finally able to disclose the abuse and talk about it or they just can’t keep it in any longer,” said Levi Monagle, an attorney at the Law Offices of Hall, Monagle, Huffman, and Wallace. He filed the lawsuit Thursday.
"The systemic issues are profound,” said Monagle. “Especially going back into history when there was just very little vetting of people who were going to be interacting with kids, nothing in the way of background checks. And then a tremendous degree of empowerment in a lot of these organizations."
The complaint also alleges that Boys and Girls Clubs of Central New Mexico’s negligence created an unsafe environment, and caused harm.
The organization responded to the lawsuit, saying, in part:
“We were appalled to learn this information. We fully recognize that although these alleged incidents occurred many years ago, time does not erase any pain experienced by survivors and their families. We encourage any individual who may have been affected by the accused to come forward.
While these incidents occurred decades ago, Boys & Girls Clubs of Central New Mexico today is a club that has the highest standards for safety including background checks for all employees and volunteers, policies and procedures in place to prevent staff and volunteers from 1:1 contact, and a see-something-say-something culture to prevent abuse from ever happening.”
No criminal charges have been filed in this case, and it’s unclear if they will be.