The Jeffersonville YMCA worker accused of sexually abusing at least 20 children is facing a new charge after another child has come forward. Police say that some of 19-year-old Michael Begin’s victims were as young as four years old.
Begin appeared in court to face the new charge on Wednesday, November 28. Clark County prosecutor Jeremy Mull added the new charge after a 6-year-old girl came forward and told police that Begin touched her inappropriately on a slide at the YMCA.
With this new charge, Begin now faces a total of 27 child molestation charges.
According to court documents, Begin began sexually assaulting kids between ages four and six in 2016. He was arrested in October 2017. Police say that they’ve continued to discover new victims.
If convicted, Begin could face a sentence of more than 200 years in prison. However, Mull has said that he would be open to a plea agreement to avoid taking the case to trial, for the sake of the victims.
Attorney contributor Jeff Gibson represents the survivors of sexual violence in civil court and has a background as a sex crimes prosecutor. We’ve asked him to shed some light on how the legal system can help survivors of YMCA child sexual abuse:
In many cases of child sexual abuse, the perpetrator is someone who had frequent access to children in their job or a volunteer position. We regularly see this in cases involving teachers, coaches, religious leaders, youth organization leaders, etc. These predators use their positions of trust as a way to commit heinous crimes. When this happens, we must not only hold the perpetrator responsible, but also any third parties whose negligence contributed to the abuse.
The criminal justice system will handle the prosecution of the abuser. In cases where a third party (such as an employer, religious institution, youth organization, etc.) attempted to cover up or enabled the abuse through negligence, the victims and their families may have grounds for filing a lawsuit over sexual abuse.
If you or your child is a survivor of sexual abuse, your first step should be contacting the police. After that, consider speaking to an experienced sexual abuse survivors attorney to better understand your family’s legal options.