Since when is it negligent not to anticipate the unanticipatable?
Last May, Kassidy Kueper of Wood River pled guilty to having inappropriate sexual contact with children. Kueper had been accused of touching 8- and 9-year-old girls in two separate incidents in the spring of 2011 while working as a camp counselor at the Edwardsville YMCA. He was sentenced to two-and-a-half years’ probation, required to register as a sex offender and undergo counseling, and barred for life from working with children. Kueper was a former substitute teacher and volunteer girls’ soccer coach at Edwardsville High School and had no criminal history when he began working part-time at the Y. This past December, more than a year and a half after the incidents, the parents of one of the girls filed suit against the Edwardsville YMCA in Madison County Circuit Court, alleging that the Y was negligent in not preventing the brief physical contact between Kueper and their daughter. While it’s hard not to sympathize with the parents, it’s even harder to see what more the Y could have done. It exercised due diligence in screening Kueper before hiring him, removed him from the premises as soon as a charge was leveled, and cooperated fully with the police investigation. “The Edwardsville YMCA will defend itself from the allegations, which are based on the unforeseeable criminal acts of a terminated employee,” the Y’s board president said in response to the suit. “The YMCA had no knowledge that would have led the Y to believe that Kueper would engage in the conduct to which he pled guilty.” The main characters in the hit TV show Person of Interest may have a futuristic computer that allows them to anticipate criminal activity on the part of individuals with no previous record, but that’s not how the real world works. Whatever the motive behind it, the only thing this lawsuit can accomplish is to permit parents to profit from the abuse of their child at the expense of the wrong party.