Boys and Girls Club responds to arrest

LIHUE — The volunteer with the Boys and Girls Club of Lihue arrested in connection with the sexual assault of two teenage girls has no criminal history, according to Kauai County officials.

Eirik J. Stevens, who has his first court appearance today, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of one count of first-degree sexual assault and third-degree attempted sexual assault, police said.

Stevens remains at the KPD cellblock in lieu of a $250,000 bail.

“Given the nature of the allegation and involvement of minors, (KPD) felt it was important to disclose his position with the youth organization,” said Sarah Blane, county spokeswoman.

Boys and Girls Club employees and volunteers undergo a thorough criminal background check, Tim Motts, president and CEO of the Boys and Girls Club, said in a statement.

“We have a zero tolerance policy for inappropriate and illegal behavior on part of any staff member, volunteer or club member in our organization,” he said.

Police were notified of the alleged assault by one of the victim’s parents, the release said.

“The organization is deeply concerned by these allegations and is committed to cooperating fully with the Kauai Police Department as they conduct a thorough investigation of this serious matter,” Motts said. “The former volunteer is barred from any access to our facilities and programs.”

The organization’s thoughts are with the Kauai community, Motts added.

“We have dedicated our efforts to providing additional resources, on-site counselors and support for our Kauai ohana,” he said. “The Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii’s absolute priority is the safety and well-being of the youth in all of our programs.”

Most programs require screening for youth program volunteers.

The county Parks and Recreation Department conducts a criminal background check and fingerprinting for youth program employees over 18, said Lenny Rapozo, director of Parks and Recreation.

“We do not utilize adult volunteers in our youth programs,” he said.

Other organizations, like Junior Achievement of Hawaii, work under a different model.

Junior Achievement works to inspire young people to value free enterprise, business and economics.

Because the program is taught in schools, with the teacher in the classroom, the organization doesn’t require full background checks, said Marion Paul, board member for the Kauai office.

“The volunteers are never alone with the children,” she said. “But we also put them through a two-hour training course that teaches them how to manage a classroom and interact with students.”

Volunteers also sign a conduct form and the organization follows the rules of the school, Paul said.

“They’re required to sign in and get a visitor’s pass,” she said.

The volunteers are also recruited or come recommended from businesses, Paul said.

“People can’t just come in and say they want to work with kids,” she said.

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