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Y President Resigns Amidst Child Rape Scandal

MELROSE, MA -- Following the arrest of a former YMCA after-school program coordinator at the Melrose (MA) Family YMCA on multiple child rape counts, a citizen’s group has called for and received the resignation of the Y’s president.

Richard Whitworth, 30-year president of the Melrose Family YMCA, said he would resign, effective Sept. 1, at the request of Melrose Cares, the community group that formed in response to the scandal. The group also launched an online petition last week to have Nancy Madden, the Y’s vice president, removed from the organization’s board of directors, but a spokesperson told The Boston Globe she has no plans to leave her post.

James Conner, the former YMCA after-school program site coordinator, was arrested Feb. 12 and charged with two counts of rape. In April, after a second alleged victim came forward, Conner was indicted on 20 sex-related charges by a Middlesex County grand jury, including five counts of rape by force of two girls under the age of 14.

The Department of Early Education and Care investigated the Y after Conner was arrested in February. The agency later issued a report that said the Melrose Y “failed to protect children from abuse,” and ordered the Y to freeze enrollment at the after-school program and improve staff training and oversight.

The investigation also revealed that the Melrose YMCA hired Conner after learning of his murky employment history with several other area YMCAs that previously fired him for inappropriate behavior.

A trial date has not yet been set in the ongoing investigation.

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