Taylor & Ring has filed a lawsuit against the Boys & Girls Club of Sonoma Valley on behalf of victims of Paul “Dwayne” Kilgore, alleging that the Club covered up years of reports of sexual abuse. The lawsuit also names Kilgore, the Petaluma Boys & Girls Club, and the national Boys & Girls Club of America organization. If you were a victim of Paul Kilgore, or if your child was abused while he was a member of the Boys & Girls Club of Sonoma Valley, we want to help you.
Attorneys Dave Ring and Natalie Weatherford represent four of Kilgore’s victims. Dave Ring told the Sonoma Index-Tribune “that he has evidence that the Boys & Girls Clubs ‘went out of their way to keep this problem internal and to protect themselves.’”
A history of complaints that went unheeded
Paul Kilgore worked for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley between 2002 and 2013. (After he resigned in 2013, he was employed by the Petaluma Boys & Girls Club in 2014, until he was arrested in 2016.) During his time at the Sonoma Valley Club, the Index-Tribune reports:
“some club employees had become aware of suspicions, or had received specific complaints by club members, that Kilgore was engaging in inappropriate relationships with club members, including undressing in front of members, having members undress in front of him, commenting on their genitalia, buying them presents and taking them on overnight trips and to his home, and that club staff did not alert parents or law enforcement.”
During this same time, per the lawsuit, the executive board members also became aware of the inappropriate relationships. They administered a “sexual harassment test;” allegedly, Kilgore answered every single question wrong.
In 2007, one of Kilgore’s victims reported inappropriate behavior to the Sonoma Valley Club, but nothing came of that report. Furthermore, the Club assigned Kilgore to teach a class on sexual health and puberty. The lawsuit contends that Kilgore “used this class to groom the young boys and to normalize his touching and sexual advances.”
The investigation into Kilgore
It was not until 2012 that the Club launched an internal investigation into Kilgore’s behavior. Per the Index-Tribune, after an incident involving Kilgore and a number of boys at an overnight trip, “The parents of the boys were contacted, according to the lawsuit, but told only that Kilgore would no longer be allowed to go off-site with members, due to an ‘organizational policy change,’ but not about any abuse allegations.”
At no time did the Boys & Girls Club of Sonoma Valley ever contact the police: not before the incident in 2012, and not afterwards. It was an employee of the Club who, after taking a course on how to spot a child predator, recognized Kilgore for what he was. The informer, who no longer workers for the club, sent emails to the Index-Tribune dated in 2013, to show that no follow-up was ever made by the club.
An example of gross negligence by the Boys & Girls Club
For years, the Boys & Girls Club of Sonoma Valley received complaints about Kilgore, yet they did nothing. They didn’t even warn other Clubs about hiring a potential child predator. In a statement, Dave Ring wrote “The Boys & Girls Club ratified this sexual abuse because they knew it was occurring as far back as 2002, yet turned a blind eye, allowing him to continue ‘coaching’ young boys unsupervised.” Natalie Weatherford said that while the Club could have done something to put an end to this predatory behavior, “Instead, the club chose to protect its employee, Kilgore, over the children entrusted into its care.”
At Taylor & Ring, we fight for justice for victims of sexual abuse throughout California. If your child was abused by Paul Kilgore, or if your complaints about potential abuse were ignored, we want to hear from you. To learn more about our services, or to speak with an experienced Los Angeles injury attorney, please call 310-776-6390 or fill out this contact form.