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Police probe allegations of sexual abuse at the Arlington Boys & Girls Club

Posted by Brock Parker  February 7, 2013 05:22 PM

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The Arlington Boys & Girls Club announced Thursday that it has discovered multiple allegations that a former and now deceased employee sexually abused children at the club between the 1970s and 1990s.

The allegations of sexual abuse are against the late William Sullivan, of West Roxbury, who passed away more than a decade ago, and worked at the Club from 1964 to 2002, according to information released by the club Thursday.

A former member of the club brought an allegation to the Club’s attention in late 2011, and the Club said it hired someone to investigate before informing Arlington Police of the allegations on Jan. 8.

Arlington Police Chief Fred Ryan said the alleged victims are now adults, but would not disclose what gender they are.

“We were recently made aware of these allegations, and we have launched our own investigation,” Ryan said.

In a letter to members and friends, the Club said it hired a third-party to conduct an independent investigation after a former Club member raised the allegations in late 2011.
In the course of the investigation, the Club said it was “deeply troubled to discover that similar allegations of abuse had been made concerning Mr. Sullivan.”

The Club informed Arlington Police and the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office at the conclusion of its investigation and pledged its cooperation with the authorities.

Derek Curran, the executive director of the Arlington Boys & Girls Club declined further comment about the allegations Thursday.

Ryan said a “Boston Herald” obituary for Sullivan said he died in June 2002, lived in West Roxbury, and had been the program director at the Club.

Because Sullivan is dead, Ryan said if information the Club provided to police is true, there may not be any prosecutable crimes in connection with the allegations. But he said police will make their own determination through the course of their investigation.

In its letter to the community Thursday, the Club said that even though the allegations being investigated concerned events that happened many years ago, the Club has reviewed its policies and procedures to ensure that it is a safe place for children today.

The club hired a consultant to revise and enhance is policies and procedures for handling allegations of child abuse, and it expanded its background check policy for employees and volunteers.

The Club and authorities are encouraging anyone with any information about possible sexual abuse at any time related to the Club to contact the Middlesex District Attorney’s Child Abuse Unit at 781-897-8400 or Arlington Police at 781-643-1212.

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