DENVER (CBS4) – A well-known Christian organization aimed at young people is now at the center of a sexual misconduct lawsuit. The allegations against Young Life were made by a former volunteer in Colorado who says she was both a victim and witness to sexual harassment.
She claims those in charge did nothing to address it.
Ellen Giarratana is the young woman’s attorney. She says her client first got involved with the group in high school.
“She went to a camp and bonded with everyone and pretty immediately knew she wanted to stay involved with them,” she said.
Giarratana says that changed for her client last summer while spending her off time from college volunteering for Young Life at the Rocky Creek Ranch camp.
“We are alleging that she was subject to assault and battery and sexual assault, and that Young Life ratified the young man’s behavior by telling her repeatedly that he was a nice guy, he didn’t mean it, and it was a small kitchen,” Giarratana said.
According to their newly-filed lawsuit the young man at the center of the alleged attacks would often quote bible verses while groping the victim, which she claims to have reported.
According to the court document she told more than a dozen people about the harassment only to be told at one point that it was “God’s plan” for her.
“It demonstrates how the organization thinks and perhaps why they didn’t take her allegations seriously,” Giarratana said.
Going forward the young woman is now seeking change.
“She is not only seeking justice for herself, she’s really concerned about women and men victims in the future at the organization and her main goal is to stop this from happening again,” Giearratana said.
A spokesperson for the Young Life organization said the call from CBS4 on Monday afternoon was the first he was made aware of the lawsuit, but released the following statement in response.
“Young Life has strict sexual harassment policies and procedures in place to ensure that all staff, volunteers and participants in our programs are treated with respect and can thrive in their roles with our ministry. We were saddened to learn of this complaint; we take it seriously and will review it thoroughly.”