Important GSWNY Update 6-19-2020

Dear GSWNY Members,

We promised to keep you updated regarding the important news we shared related to the initial May 30, 2020 Update and June 2, 2020 Update. We want to share with you first, the statement that will be shared with the public this afternoon on June 19, 2020 regarding new related information. Please see the press release below.

At Girl Scouts of Western New York, the safety and wellbeing of our girls and all children is our highest priority.

If you have questions, please call our Customer Care line at: 1-888-837-6410, or email Morgan Williams-Bryant, Chief Impact Officer at email. Please also feel free to email me as well. We ask that you direct any media inquiries to Callie Johnson, EVP of Marketing at 716-935-6023 or email.

Thank you.

Yours in Girl Scouting,
Alison Wilcox
CEO, Girl Scouts of Western New York

Press Release:

Girl Scouts of Western New York Statement on Walton Case
First time that allegations of this nature involve a GSWNY troop co-leader

DEPEW, NY (June 19, 2020) – The Girl Scouts of Western New York today issued the following information and statement, attributable to GSWNY CEO Alison Wilcox. It follows reports that the Erie County District Attorney’s office added to charges lodged May 29 by North Tonawanda police against a troop co-leader for sexually abusing two children. This will be the GSWNY’s only comment at this time.

“All of us at the Girl Scouts of Western New York want to express our concern for the two children and we want them to have the best-possible care and support. There is nothing more important to Girl Scouts than the safety and well-being of all children, and we take all such allegations very seriously. This is hugely distressing to us.”

“Since the first arrests, we learned from North Tonawanda police that the reported abuse did not take place at a Girl Scout facility, or during Girl Scout activities.”

“Nonetheless, we continue to emphasize the rules and regulations involving adult-Girl Scout interactions, safety and well-being. The male troop co-leader passed thorough background checks in 2016 and again in October 2019. Both adults were immediately removed from all GSWNY activities May 29. We are conducting a rigorous internal investigation, reviewing our regulations, and continue to cooperate with law enforcement.”
By way of relevant background, please know this is the first time that a GSWNY volunteer has been involved in allegations such as these.

Also, our rules state that there are always at least two approved, unrelated, adult volunteers, at least one of whom is a female, with any girl or group of girls following prescribed adult-to-girl ratios. These include co-leaders, chaperones, and troop drivers, all of whom must pass a background check every three years. The father/troop co-leader in this case passed background checks in October 2016, and again in October 2019.
GSWNY has about 15,000 Girl Scouts, and more than 6,000 adult volunteers across its nine counties of operation. There have been no in-person Girl Scout meetings or sanctioned activities since March 15, due to COVID-19. 

For further background view: Volunteer ResourcesVolunteer Essentials, and Safety Activity Checkpoints.

About Girl Scouts of Western New York
Girl Scouts of Western New York (GSWNY) serves nearly 15,000 girls and over 6,000 adult volunteers across the GSWNY jurisdiction, including Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming counties. The council’s administrative service centers are located in Batavia, Buffalo, Jamestown, Lockport, Niagara Falls, and Rochester. Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. Through the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, girls discover their personal best and prepare for a positive future, connect with others in an increasingly diverse world and take action to solve problems and improve their communities.

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