Transferring Child Safety Risks And Signs Of Peer-to-Peer Sexual Assault

The parents of two children allegedly sexually assaulted at a campground in Connecticut have sued its owners.

According to the lawsuit, the children were assaulted by an underage male camper at the campground in July 2016.

The suit alleges further that the owners knew the alleged perpetrator had problems at another campground they owned and moved him and his family to the campground where the assaults took place. The accused allegedly groomed both minor victims, a boy and a girl, until he exposed his private parts and eventually assaulted them. Both victims required medical treatment and are suffering from trauma and psychological injuries.

Before the accused camper was moved from the other campground, a female camper filed a complaint against him stating that he "had approached her and made indecent, obscene, lewd and sexually suggestive comments to her." However, instead of conducting an investigation or expelling the accused and his family from the grounds, the owners transferred them to the other campground owned by the same family.

The suit also alleges the owners of the campground transferred the alleged perpetrator to a different campground they owned rather than expelling them for the purpose of monetary gain. They also allegedly failed to have the appropriate number of properly trained staff, and failed to monitor the recreation room or the security cameras installed for that purpose. Dave Altimari "Family of Two Children Files Lawsuit Against Campground After Alleged Sexual Assault" (Jul. 12, 2018).

Commentary and Checklist

The camp ground owners, like any organization, face liability when they know of a child safety risk and fail to report it. Simply moving perpetrators, even minors who perpetrate sex crimes, puts other children at risk.

Research shows that approximately 40 percent of children who are sexually abused are abused by older, or more powerful children. In fact, the younger the victim, the more likely it is that the perpetrator is a minor. Juveniles have been proven to be the offenders in 43 percent of assaults on children under the age of six. Of these offenders, 14 percent were under age 12.

What are the signs that a minor may be sexually abusing another child?

  • Any sexual behavior involving children who are four or more years apart is likely sexual abuse
  • Sexual behaviors that involve coercion
  • Sexual behaviors that result in emotional distress or physical pain
  • When a child shows sexual material to other children
  • When a child makes sexually abusive telephone calls or/and sends sexual messages or images to another child
  • When a child exposes his or her genitals to other children
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