Ex-Driver For Madison YWCA Accused of Sexually Assaulting Woman with Disability
A former driver for the Madison YWCA has been charged with sexually assaulting a woman with a mental disability in September. The driver was transporting the woman to and from work.
53-year-old Dwain Sykes is accused of groping the woman multiple times inside of a YWCA van he was driving. The criminal complaint alleges that there were three separate incidents of abuse in September.
Police obtained video surveillance from inside of the vehicle, which they say confirms the allegations of inappropriate touching. YWCA Madison CEO Vanessa McDowell released a statement which says that Sykes inappropriately touched two riders, but it is not known if the second victim also has a disability.
Sykes has been charged with second-degree sexual assault of a mentally ill victim, which is a felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison and 15 years of extended supervision. He was fired from the YWCA on September 25.
Sykes has a previous conviction in Dane County for misdemeanor battery from 20 years ago.
The woman was receiving aid from the YWCA for “skills of daily living.” Her mother told police that she has the mental faculties of an 8-year-old but sometimes functions higher in socialization and communication. She is an “adult at risk” according to Wisconsin statutes.
When interviewed by police, Sykes admitted that he knew the woman had a developmental disability. Detective Danielle Hall reportedly asked Sykes if he had touched the woman inappropriately, and he replied, “Yeah, I did. I shouldn’t have, but I did.”
According to police, a review of the video showed Sykes inappropriately touching the woman on September 12, 20, and 24. The video also allegedly shows the woman moving his hand away from her several times.
The woman told interviewers with Safe Harbor, a child advocacy center, that she told Sykes to stop, “but he wouldn’t listen, and I tried picking up his hand and moving his hand…to gie him the clue that I wasn’t OK with it.”
Sykes was released on Thursday, October 24 on a $500 signature bond. He will appear in court again on November 11.
Hi, I’m attorney Brian Kent.
If you or a loved one is a survivor of sexual abuse, I’d be happy to discuss your legal options.
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Legal Recourse For Victims of Sexual Abuse by YWCA & YMCA Employees
Attorney contributor Brian Kent of AbuseGuardian.com has offered to share some information on the legal rights of those who have been sexually assaulted by YWCA and YMCA employees:
The YMCA and YWCA organizations provide a variety of valuable services, including assistance for adults with mental disabilities. These organizations and others that involve working with vulnerable adults have a legal duty to make sure their employees are trustworthy. Sadly, vulnerable adults are often targeted by sexual predators. Organizations that work with these adults must do everything they can to protect them from all forms of abuse by employees.
Adults with disabilities who have been sexually assaulted by YWCA or YMCA employees have legal rights. Reporting the assault to law enforcement can result in criminal penalties for the perpetrator, but these victims also may have grounds for a civil lawsuit against the organization due to negligence. For example, the YWCA could be held liable for negligence if they failed to run a background check before hiring the perpetrator.
If you or a loved one is a victim of sexual assault by a YWCA employee, you can learn more about your family’s legal options by speaking with one of our experienced sex abuse victims lawyers in a free consultation.
Location of YWCA Madison
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