March 8, 2021, 10:27 p.m. EST
Updated on:March 8, 2021, 10:27 p.m. EST
One man claims a Knights of Columbus member who worked as a youth basketball coach for the organization sexually assaulted him as a child in the Bronx.
The Knights of Columbus have 1.9 million members in the United States. They were originally founded to serve the needy as a Catholic fraternal welfare society.
Jeffrey Davis claims Kenneth McLaughlin molested him as a boy and claims the organization did not stop or prevent the abuse.
Documents from Davis’ attorneys show that he is one of four victims in this lawsuit against members. The other victims remain anonymous.
“He’s taken a lot of self-worth in my life, but I don’t want him to take my name away. I still have my name,” said Davis.
The claim reads: “The sexual abuse occurred multiple times and included, but not limited to, McLaughlin forcing Jeffrey to strip and caress Jeffrey’s genitals.”
Regarding alleged abuse, the named defendants “did not take reasonable steps to protect them from this threat,” the lawsuit said.
Davis says his father hired him for the Knights youth basketball program. At the time, it was in the Grand Concourse near Poe Park.
The Knights of Columbus say that members who volunteer in underage programs are trained and background checked every three years. It also said, “The Knights of Columbus are committed to preventing sexual abuse, promoting survivor healing, and strengthening our safe environment program, all of which are essential to our core mission of the ministry.”
This case is on trial as Governor Andrew Cuomo extends the Child Victim’s Act review period to August 14th. The extension means that victims of sexual abuse can continue to bring claims against abusers. It was expanded to do the pandemic.
In a statement, the Knights of Columbus said:
“We are deeply saddened to hear about the allegations in this lawsuit and to take this matter very seriously. While we are currently unable to comment on these specific allegations, we applaud the courage and strength of the victims of sexual abuse When Bringing These allegations are brought to light, the Knights of Columbus are committed to preventing sexual abuse, promoting healing for survivors, and strengthening our safe environment program, all of which are dedicated to our core mission of serving our members, their families , The Catholic Church, and our communities. As part of the Knights of Columbus Safe Environment Program, members who volunteer in programs that serve minors directly receive training and background reviews every three years Safe Environment Program was developed in collaboration with Praesidium, an international ane A recognized and trusted resource for abuse prevention and awareness. Knights of Columbus members serving as volunteers in their parishes are subject to applicable diocese requirements for safe environment training and background checks. “