New lawsuits accuse former directors of Old Town Boys and Girls Club of sexual abuse
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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Two new lawsuits have been filed against former directors of the Old Town Boys and Girls Club. The documents, filed Monday, allege grooming and sexual abuse against several children, more than 30 years ago.
Background checks on each of the former directors, Eddie Valtierra and Dominic Yannoni, do not reveal any criminal charges in relation to those claims.
Levi Monagle is one of the attorneys representing six alleged victims in five separate lawsuits. He said Valtierra and Yannoni were back-to-back directors at the facility, so the abuse claims against them span from the 1970s to the mid 1990s.
"Each of these perpetrators have different patterns of grooming, and abusing the kids in their charge," Monagle said.
Legal documents point to the "Roadrunners Club,” a special group within Old Town Boys and Girls Club that was allegedly used by Valtierra to target children with single mothers, "for special treatments and exclusive trips and subsequently grooming and abuse," Monagle said.
"These methods were fairly sophisticated. I mean, the whole process of targeting particularly vulnerable kids, making them feel special, making them feel like there was a secret that existed between— with one of these perpetrators and the victim, and then isolating them further, once actual abuse had occurred, making them feel that something that had happened was their fault," he added.
That appears to be the case for the alleged victim named “John Doe 20” in one of the most recent lawsuits. It claims Valtierra asked “John Doe 20” to join the Roadrunners Club in the summer of 1979, just months after their father died. The alleged abuse started around the same time.
There are similar allegations against Yannoni.
"Dominic Yannoni, as the director of club, instituted a much broader culture of sort of sexual talk, sexual games, just a sort of a culture at the Old Town Club, where sexual interactions were sort of normalized," Monagle said.
He went on to say, the two lawsuits aim to hold the Boys and Girls Club organizations accountable for the alleged abuse.
"In New Mexico, if you give substantial power to an agent and that agent misuses that substantial power to abuse a vulnerable person—like a child—the person who empowered the perpetrator is responsible, and the person, so to speak, in this case, would be the Old Town Club or the national organization," Monagle said.
The Boys and Girls Club of New Mexico sent KOB the following statement:
“We were recently made aware of the details of additional civil claims filed against our organization involving allegations of abuse dating back more than 30 years ago. While we have been advised that is it common for additional claims to follow an original claim of such abuse, we were still 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 continue to encourage any individual who may have been affected by the accused to come forward. Our organization, in partnership with those involved in the legal process, will work diligently to have this matter resolved in a manner that provides support and comfort to those affected.
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, mandated reporting of suspected abuse, and a see-something-say-something culture to prevent abuse from ever happening.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Central New Mexico will never stop working to keep kids safe and we take any allegation that might impact the well-being of the young people entrusted to our care very seriously. Boys & Girls Clubs of Central New Mexico’s commitment to our Club members, their families, and our community remains steadfast and unwavering.”
Anyone with information regarding child sexual abuse in youth-serving organizations is encouraged to contact either of the attorneys below:
Levi A. Monagle – (505) 255-6300 or (505) 803-1274 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Jason T. Wallace – (505) 255-6300 or (520) 730-6109 or email@example.com