Sexual Assault Under Investigation - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

07/13/05 - Nacogdoches

Sexual Assault Under Investigation

by Donna McCollum

Allegations of a disturbing incident are causing shock and disappointment for staff members and parents associated with the Boys & Girls Club of Nacogdoches. A friendship between a couple of teenagers may have gone too far.

For more than two years Frezell Childress, 17, has been kicked out of the Boys & Girls Club of Nacogdoches. Boys & Girls Club Director Jeff Woods said, 'We had a warrant for criminal trespassing on him at one time." Yet he returned time and time again, twice on Monday. Police investigators believe his last visit was to sexually assault a friend, a 14 year old mentally challenged club member.

According to a police spokesman the teenager was taken from the gymnasium, forced across a field into some nearby woods off the Boys & Girls Club property. The girl says the young man dragged her outside by the arm around ten Monday morning, a busy time for the center, yet Woods doesn't know of any eyewitnesses. "We have 270 kids up there at the boys & girls club and over 20 staff over at the Boys & Girls Club and so far I haven't had any staff or kids say they've seen anybody forced out of the gym."

Following the incident the teen girl returned to friends, called her mom for a change of clothes and never showed signs out of character. "My staff came in contact with her several times during the day and afternoon. Not once did she complain about anything and also never cried about anything," said Woods.

The incident was reported once she got home. Childress turned himself in after being contacted by police.

Policy Review

Now policies are under review. Boys and Girls Clubs everywhere have an 'open door' policy with teenagers. They can come and go at will. The club tries to monitor teens. But staff members know if one decides to sneak out it's very difficult to catch them. Younger kids are watched more closely.

After Monday's incident one parent is reinforcing the rules with her daughter. Esther Sanchez reminded her 12 year old daughter that, "If they do feel like they're in danger then they need to let somebody know . They can yell. There's so many children around."

Sanchez on leave from Iraq spoke about entering the club for the very first time. "I had never been seen before, but was told to go to the pool to find my daughter. I got to the girl's dressing room where small children were changing clothes and was never stopped by anyone."

Still she plans to let her daughter continue seeing her friends at the club. "The Boys & Girls Club is a good place to drop off your children, but it's not a day care facility. No I won't keep my daughter from coming here, but I will let her know and reenforce the importance of knowing how or what to do if something like that happens."

The Boys & Girls administration wants to assure parents the club in Nacogdoches is safe, but they will be looking at measures to make it even safer. The club director says he'll consider fencing in the back portion of the property that faces the woods and neighbor's yards.

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