The Arlington Boys and Girls Club revealed Thursday that for more than a year it’s been investigating allegations that a former and now deceased employee “sexually abused children at the club between the 1970s and 1990s.”
The club released a statement saying its investigation began in late 2011 after a former club member came forward with the allegations against the late William “Sully” Sullivan, a West Roxbury resident who worked at the club for 38 years, from 1964 until his death in 2002. The club said it “hired a third party to conduct an independent investigation.” A source with knowledge of the club’s investigation has told Arlington Patch that the “third party” was a law firm.
The Arlington Police Department and Middlesex District Attorney’s Office were “recently made aware” of the allegations and the club’s investigation, Arlington Police Chief Frederick Ryan said Thursday. The club said it disclosed the findings of its investigation to these authorities on Jan. 8 of this year, which was more than a year after the initial allegations were made. The club said it’s pledged its “full cooperation” with these authorities.
The club said based on the facts uncovered in its investigation, the police department and district attorney’s office have formed the “preliminary opinion” that “there are presently no prosecutable crimes.” However, these authorities are now conducting their own independent investigation, according to Ryan.
Anyone with any information about possible sexual abuse in any form and at any time related to the club is asked to contact the police department at 781-643-1212 or the district attorney’s Child Abuse Unit at 781-897-8400.
The allegations weren’t specified in the club’s statement, or in the letter from the club’s leadership team. The club did say, however, that during the course of its investigation, it discovered that “similar allegations of abuse had been made concerning [Sullivan].” A source with knowledge of the investigation told Arlington Patch that “more than one person” has come forward. Sources told WCVB that “two adult men” have now made allegations.
On Thursday, the club’s executive director, Derek Curran, said the club has no further comment at this time.
Sullivan, who died at age 66 and was the club’s program director, according to his obituary in the Boston Herald, has not been charged posthumously with any crime. The club released his name in the letter from the leadership team, which was signed by Curran, President Stephen W. DeCourcey, First Vice President Rachel H. Prindle and Second Vice President Stephen J. Cunningham.
A former club member who kept in touch with Sullivan as an adult said the allegations were “so hard to believe.” “He was just a really nice guy,” she said.
Even though the allegations concern past events, the club’s leadership team said it “undertook a review of its policies and procedures to ensure that [the club] is a safe place for children today.”
The club said it has since taken a number of steps, including implementing a new whistleblower policy and expanding its background check policy. It has also worked with consultants to revise its policies and procedures regarding allegations of abuse and with an engineering firm to ensure the building is safe, according to the letter.
“The safety and well-being of your children is and has been our primary concern,” the leadership team wrote.