8 alleged sex abuse survivors come forward in Mt. Kisco camp counselor case
Eight alleged sexual abuse survivors have come forward in a case that could number in the hundreds involving someone involved with the Boys and Girls Club in Mt. Kisco.
James Collins is accused of grooming and sexually abusing children, some as young as 10 years old, spanning from the late 1960s to the 1990s.
A 60+ page lawsuit details disturbing massages, fondling, oral sex and masturbation.
Twelve alleged victims have come forward. Attorney Sarah Klein's says her firm is expecting more. "The average age of reporting childhood sexual abuse is 52 years old and that is because there is so much shame involved and there's time…it takes to reconcile the fact that this was actually sexual abuse," she says.
Collins was involved with the Boys & Girls Club in Mt. Kisco. He also worked at Horace Greeley High School, which is part of Chappaqua Central School District. The lawsuit states the alleged abuse happened on and around the district and at Camp Iroquois in Mount Kisco — all are named in the lawsuit and accused of negligence.
Klein says the civil process will begin soon. She hopes more potential survivors will speak up.
"I just want them to know there is strength in numbers and you will be believed and you're not alone,” she says.
Statement from Boys and Girls Club of Northern Westchester:
“The safety and protection of the youth we serve is always our number one priority, and we take any allegation that might impact the well-being of youth entrusted to our care very seriously. The Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester is aware of recent civil claims filed regarding allegations of sexual misconduct involving minors that took place more than 35 years ago involving an individual who is listed as a defendant who , based upon our best information .was not an employee of the Club. We are deeply heartbroken for any child who has been harmed, and we understand that time does not take away any pain inflicted on victims and their families. Crimes of abuse run counter to everything our organization stands for, and it is completely unacceptable that harm come to any child under any circumstances. Our commitment to the safety of young people is unyielding, we will never stop doing whatever it takes to protect our kids and community.”