ALBANY – The Fulton County YMCA received previous complaints of inappropriate behavior concerning an employee now accused of raping a 12-year-old girl at the facility, a recently filed federal lawsuit alleges.
The family of the girl filed the suit earlier this month in federal court in Albany, seeking $10 million in damages following the arrest last month of Tyler R. Benton on a first-degree rape charge.
Benton, 19, of Johnstown, is accused of raping the girl inside the YMCA’s family locker room in Johnstown on April 13.
The lawsuit alleges that the attack came after the YMCA received other complaints against Benton, but failed to properly respond.
“It is alleged that the YMCA had actual knowledge of defendant Benton’s behavior based upon direct observation, reports and complaints from co-workers, children and parents, yet no action was taken to stop the behavior while it was occurring,” the lawsuit reads.
The family is represented in the suit by Albany attorney Ryan M. Finn.
Fulton County YMCA director Steven Serge referred comment on the lawsuit this past week to an attorney. The attorney did not return a call for comment. The Fulton County YMCA is named as a defendant, as is Benton.
Officials previously said Benton had been a part-time employee since 2017 and that he was terminated when the rape complaint was brought to their attention.
The family’s lawsuit also makes further allegations related to the day of the alleged attack, that the attack followed hours of inappropriate behavior from Benton toward children at the facility.
Benton worked at the facility’s “teen center” and, in the hours leading up to the attack, “acted inappropriately” toward the girl “and several others,” the suit reads.
Benton had children sit on his lap, he rubbed their shoulders and hair and had “inappropriate conversations” with them, the suit reads.
“Defendant Benton had previously engaged in similar conduct throughout his employment,” the suit reads.
Benton then attacked the girl by luring her into the family locker room, “claiming that he was looking for a manager to return keys” and asking the girl for help and he raped her after she repeatedly told him “NO,” the suit reads.
The lawsuit also alleges Benton admitted the rape and that he “has tried to excuse his behavior by pathetically claiming that he was just ‘excited.'”
The family claims negligence, gender discrimination and intentional infliction of emotional distress and battery, along with state human rights law violations.
Benton’s criminal case remains pending. If convicted of the first-degree rape count, he would face up to 25 years in state prison.