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‘A trust has been broken’ — YMCA implements daily sex offender registry checks

Acknowledging “a trust has been broken,” Greater Wichita YMCA officials announced they will be implementing daily sex offender registry checks in the wake of an employee being charged with raping a 4-year-old girl at the Downtown Y on Jan. 29.

Though someone would not appear on the sex offender registry until they are convicted, the YMCA is “in the final phase of launching an automated...check system that will notify us daily of any staff, member, guest or participant with a change in their status,” YMCA president and CEO Ronn McMahon said in a statement released Tuesday night.

Caleb Gaston, 21, who had worked for the YMCA since 2013, has been charged with raping a 4-year-old girl. He was being held on $100,000 bond, though he had bonded out of jail as of Tuesday.

“At this time, the Y does not have all the details regarding this alleged incident,” McMahon said.

All prospective employees undergo comprehensive county, state and federal criminal background checks, social security traces, sex offender registry, global watch and nationwide alert list checks and professional and personal reference checks — each looking for potential child abuse and extremes in behavior, McMahon said.

That includes the question, “Have you ever heard or observed anything about this candidate that would make you reluctant to recommend him or her for a job with children?” he said.

Because criminal background checking systems do not flag concerns until formal charges are filed, he said, “any organization would have received clean criminal and SOR (sex offender registry) background checks on this individual prior to last week,” McMahon said.

Gaston was fired from a church preschool last October following a complaint about “inappropriate touching,” officials have said. Plymouth Learning Center notified the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, which concluded following an investigation that the allegation was not substantiated.

McMahon offered an apology “for the anger, sadness and the loss of security you are experiencing as a result of this allegation. Please know that we are here to support you in any way we can.”

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