Philadelphia’s award-winning LGBTQ youth center is dealing with a sexual assault accusation.
According to Philadelphia Gay News, The Attic Youth Center, which supports mostly LGBTQ youth of color, has recently been accused of being the location of a sexual assault against a minor. In addition, there are claims that racism is rampant within the staff.
These allegations first appeared on Facebook through the page “the Black & Brown Workers Co-op.” In addition to three pages of allegations, the Facebook page includes a 53-minute video discussing the claims. It was later revealed that the allegations come from a former Attic employee.
A source came forward to say that alleged crime happened more than a year ago to a black youth that visits the center often.
“These allegations are serious,” said the Attic’s board of directors president Shawn Leavitt to PGN. “It’s incredibly important we address them and determine what — if anything — has happened, and to make sure The Attic is — and continues to be — a safe place for our community’s youth.”
In response to these allegations, Jasper Liem, the Vice President of the Attic Board of Directors, released a memo to staff members.
“The Board is deeply disturbed by these allegations. We are launching an investigation … Effective immediately, [Executive Director] Carrie Jacobs and [Director of Programs and Operations] Christina Santos have been relieved of their duties, pending the conclusion of the investigation,” the memo said.
“This is a critical and difficult time for The Attic,” the memo added. “Our goal is to make sure we are supporting you as you continue to serve our youth and we work together in the coming weeks. We are committed to a fair and transparent process and will keep you updated throughout coming weeks.”
The memo also mentions the plan to have an third party group investigate the situation while the center focuses on its everyday activities. The results of that investigation will then be released to the public.
It seems that despite these online complaints, there weren’t any reports or complaints filed with the police. In addition, members of the Black & Brown Workers Co-op say they’re glad to support the employees whistleblowing this crime, but are disappointed by the Attic’s lack of action.