WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) In his first interview since YMCA employee Caleb Gaston was arrested for rape, Greater Wichita YMCA President and CEO Ronn McMahon says his organization is devastated by the accusations.
“We're all heartbroken. We show up every day trying to keep kids safe and if there's anything to change in the future we will,” said McMahon.
Gaston is accused of raping a 4-year-old girl in his care at the Downtown YMCA last week.
McMahon says there are many safety measures in place.
“Everything we do is around safety. The way we design is for safety, so there are windows and partial walls for visibility. We do rigid background checks and reference checks as well as child abuse prevention training. We have cameras in Kid Zones that come on with activity,” he said.
McMahon wouldn’t go into details about how the incident could have occurred even with those safety measures in place. He also couldn’t say whether the alleged incident was captured on security cameras. He says there are multiple employees in the Kid Zone areas, but not all the time. He says it’s possible Gaston could have been the only adult but says those are questions for police.
“I can tell you as a result of anything we learn that can make us better, we're going to do that,” said McMahon.
McMahon says Gaston had worked for the YMCA Kid Zones since 2013, mostly at the East Y. He says there had never been an allegation made against Gaston in that time. He says they are fully cooperating with police and still in the process of contacting parents whose children may have had contact with Gaston. As reported before, the YMCA is now strengthening its background check procedures and will implement a daily sex offender registry check on all employees.
“We’re heartbroken. We work hard to keep kids safe. We want to thank parents who have said they believe in the Y. We're going to continue to live the mission of the YMCA,” said McMahon.