Mom says daughter was fondled by man at city-run summer camp

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A mother wants answers after she says a volunteer at a city-run summer camp forced her 12-year-old daughter to fondle him.

It was June 24 when she raced to the Ed Rice Community Center on North Watkins, the place her 12-year-old daughter had been attending summer camp.

“They were saying someone had done something to my daughter,” she said. “My biggest fear is that he`s been doing this and getting away with it.”

Earlier that day, her daughter made a disturbing confession to a woman in town that week, volunteering at the camp with her church.

“We were throwing Frisbees with the kids,” the volunteer said. “We had just left water break and me and two girls were behind everyone else.”

She felt something was wrong, so she pulled the girl aside and started to pry.

The volunteer says the little girl admitted one of the regular volunteers, a 25-year-old man, forced her to grope him, and then groped her.

The alleged incident took place the week before.

“He had sat next to her, or she sat next to him, in the computer lab and he dared her to do stuff and betted she couldn’t do it.”

She says the child also talked about the way he looked at her.

“She’d walk by and he’d stare at her butt and tell her she looked good that day.”

The volunteer immediately took the child to the director of the community center to report what had happened.

“We sat down for about 10-15 minutes and reassured her that she was brave. It wasn’t her fault and she could be saving other kids were going through this.”

Shortly after, the child`s mother showed up, as well as police.

The mother said she couldn’t understand why the police weren’t already there. She had to call them.

“They had asked him if he did it and he said ‘No’ and was able to leave,” she said.

Officers interviewed the child and took a report. But almost a month later, no arrest has been made.

“I feel dismissed,” the mother said. “I feel like I need answers definitely. I feel like he shouldn’t be able to walk the streets and be around other children now.”

WREG is working to find out more about the man and if he was at any other community centers. The mayor’s staff says they’re confident the director notified police about what happened.

The child is now in counseling.

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