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Boys & Girls Club settles sexual abuse lawsuit

Paul Dwayne Kilgore is serving 150 years for crimes against young boys

Two civil lawsuits filed in connection with the sexual abuse of young boys who attended the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley have been settled.

The terms of the settlements reached early in November on behalf of the six plaintiffs are confidential, said attorney Natalie Weatherford of Taylor & Ring in Manhattan Beach.

The settlements in the civil lawsuits were reached after discussions with the plaintiffs after “a lot of litigation,” Weatherford said.

While the terms were confidential, the defense may have filed documents that were not sealed. Four plaintiffs filed one of the two lawsuits, while the other lawsuit was filed by two plaintiffs.

In one case, a court filing indicates a man known as John Doe 2 would receive about $976,753 in settlement paid with Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley’s insurance money, according to court records. In the other case, another man named John Doe 5 would obtain $982,752, according to another court filing.

Five of the six plaintiffs, all of whom were not named to protect their identity, are now adults. They are “really happy to put the litigation behind them and focus on their healing from the abuse,” Weatherford said.

The defendants named in the two lawsuits were the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley and other affiliated clubs, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

The two complaints were filed in Sonoma County Superior Court after Paul Dwayne Kilgore, a former athletic director at Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley, was sentenced to 150 years in prison in 2018 for molesting young boys for years.

The six plaintiffs had attended the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley for years, according to the civil complaints.

The complaints alleged Kilgore, of Boyes Hot Springs, groomed his victims and sexually abused them during after-school and summer programs. The abuse took place at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley and at other locations, including Kilgore’s house, according to the complaints.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley had received reports of Kilgore’s inappropriate behavior with minor boys for years during his tenure at the club, according to the lawsuits. Kilgore started working for various Boys & Girls clubs in Sonoma County in the late 1990s.

In around 2000-01, employees, administrators and executive board members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley “began to notice Paul Dwayne Kilgore’s inappropriate close relationships with young boys at the club, including that Kilgore would put his hands on young boys and take boys on and off the club premises in his personal vehicle,” according to one of the lawsuits filed by two men, referred as John Doe 5 and John Doe 6.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley also learned that Kilgore would not obtain parents’ permission to take boys on outings. Parents and other employees complained to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley about Kilgore’s behavior, according to court filings.

Kilgore failed a sexual harassment test in March 2006. Yet his supervisor signed off that Kilgore had completed “his sexual harassment ‘training’ and passed the test,” according to court filings.

In January 2013, Kilgore was placed on paid suspension while the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley investigated Kilgore’s relationships with more than 10 boys, records show.

The investigation found he had taken boys on overnight trips, including to his house, that he had shared a bed with boys during those outings, undressed in front of the minors and had the boys undress in front of him, according to court filings.

In March 2013, letters of reprimand were sent to three Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley administrators, including its chief executive officer, for their “failures to enact parameters and ‘set boundaries’ in response to the complaints they received about Paul Dwayne Kilgore,” according to the lawsuit filed by John Doe 5 and John Doe 6. In September 2013, Kilgore was allowed to resign.

However, in January 2014, Kilgore was hired by nearby Boys & Girls clubs to work in and around Petaluma and Sonoma, according to the court filings. His abuse against two of the six plaintiffs continued, the lawsuits alleged.

Kilgore was arrested in 2016 after a teacher reported to law enforcement that Kilgore had been inappropriately talking and touching one of the plaintiffs at a health club in Healdsburg.

Kilgore was convicted in 2018 of molesting three boys under the age of 14. The exact number of his victims is unclear. Prosecutors tried to have eight other alleged victims testify. Of those, four spoke in court, according to court filings.

Kilgore appealed his sentence in 2018. Among other points, Kilgore, who is now 73, claimed his 150-year-to-life sentence was cruel and unusual punishment given his age. He also contested the court’s decision to allow the four additional witnesses testify at trial.

However, the First Appellate District Court of Appeal in April 2019 rejected his appeal. In June 2019, the state Supreme Court denied his petition for review.

Kilgore is now incarcerated at Mule Creek State Prison in Ione.

Cary Snowden, president and CEO, Boys and Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley issued a statement this week regarding the settlements. Snowden, who started working for the club in 2016, was named president and CEO in 2018.

“Boys & Girls Club of Sonoma Valley will never stop working to keep kids safe, and we take any allegation that might impact the well-being of young people entrusted to our care very seriously,” Snowden said. “We are aware of settlements reached in civil lawsuits filed against our organization. Our legal counsel worked diligently toward resolution to solve this matter in a way we hope will support healing for all families involved. Abuse of any kind runs counter to everything our organization stands for, and no harm should come to any child under any circumstance.”

“Boys & Girls Club of Sonoma Valley is committed to the highest standards of ethical behavior and integrity and does not tolerate inappropriate or illegal behavior on the part of any club staff, volunteer or youth member. We are constantly reviewing our safety protocols to proactively improve our safety practices. All employees and volunteers must undergo a comprehensive criminal background check prior to hire and annually, and all supervisory policies are designed to ensure the maximum safety and protection of club members and staff,” Snowden said.

“With respect for the privacy of the former members involved, we are unable to offer further comment at this time. Our commitment to our club youth, their families, and our community is unwavering.”

In a written statement, Boys & Girls Clubs of America said the organization and all local clubs “will never stop doing whatever it takes to keep kids safe.”

“The safety and protection of the more than 4 million children our local clubs serve are always our absolute highest priorities, and we take any allegation or situation that impacts their well-being very seriously. Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) is aware of settlements reached in civil lawsuits regarding allegations of inappropriate behavior involving a former Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley employee. Abuse of any kind runs counter to everything Boys & Girls Clubs of America and all local clubs stand for, and no harm should come to any child under any circumstance.”

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