YMCA president charged with failing to report alleged 2014 abuse

Christopher Dornblaser

The president and CEO of the York County YMCA has been charged with endangering the welfare of children for allegedly not reporting suspected child sexual abuse at a camp in 2014.

Larry M. Richardson, 56, of 1688 Lilac Road in West Manchester Township, also is charged with failure to report or refer suspected child abuse, according to court documents. Both charges are misdemeanors.

Northeastern Regional Police allege Richardson failed to properly report the alleged sexual abuse at Camp Spirit in July 2014. According to documents, he told police the incident was "sexual exploration," and YMCA staff did not feel the situation was criminal.

By law, certain people who work with or around children are required to report suspected cases of child abuse. According to Richardson's charging documents, the YMCA staff should have reported the suspected abuse within 24 hours.

Police said they were only made aware of the incident at Camp Spirit in East Manchester Township last August — a year after the alleged incident — through Pennsylvania's ChildLine, a child-abuse reporting hotline.

The incident: The camp director said a therapeutic support staff member told her two 12-year-old boys went into the woods and "had mutually done sexual things to each other," documents state.

When police spoke to the support staff member, she said the alleged victim told her "something bad had happened" that caused him to be embarrassed and upset. The staff member told police she reported the incident to the camp director and then filled out paperwork for ChildLine.

When informed of the incident, the camp director said, she contacted the boys' parents and her supervisor and told them what had allegedly happened. She said Richardson also was aware of the alleged incident.

The director told police she filled out an incident report at the time, but she was unable to find it, documents state.

A parent of the alleged victim told police they were told by YMCA staff that the boy who allegedly performed the acts was removed from the camp for the season, documents state.

However, the support staff member told police the two boys were both at the camp, in the same group, the day after the incident, according to court documents, and police said the two boys were listed on the camp roster together for all of July 2014 and a separate week in August 2014.

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Richardson: When police met with Richardson in August, he told them he did not believe the behavior reached anything criminal and told them he did not believe there were any reports, emails or other documentation of the incident, police said.

In February, police spoke with Richardson again.

He told police no incident report from July 2014 had been found since the last time he was interviewed in August, police allege. Police said Richardson maintained the same stance as earlier, that the situation did not reach a criminal level and the boys' actions were "peer-to-peer."

He also said the boys were removed from the camp for the rest of the season after the incident, police said.

When police told Richardson that they were receiving conflicting information — that the boys were in camp together the day after the incident — Richardson told them he was unsure and would have to look into it, documents state.

The charges were filed Wednesday, and Richardson was arraigned Thursday. He was released on $25,000 unsecured bail.

Richardson's attorney, Christopher Ferro, could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.