Boys and Girls Club denies culpability in sexual abuse lawsuit

Joshua Adams, 29, of New Hampton faces six counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault and one count of endangering the welfare of a child.

Joshua Adams, 29, of New Hampton faces six counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault and one count of endangering the welfare of a child.

By CATHERINE McLAUGHLIN

Monitor staff

Published: 05-20-2024 3:04 PM

Modified: 05-20-2024 4:31 PM


The Boys and Girls Club of Central New Hampshire and its executive director say they are not responsible for years of sexual abuse a Concord teenager endured by a former staffer.

Teegan Paul, 22, sued the organization in February, accusing it of failing to prevent or stop the abuse by not enforcing its policies around staff alone time and boundaries with children, flouting its mandatory reporting obligations, and covering up red flags widely known among its staff. Over her years at the club, between the ages of 13 and 16, Paul said she was groomed and then sexually abused by a staffer in his late 20s. After she reported the abuse to police in 2018, former staffer Joshua Adams was arrested. In an agreement with prosecutors, he later pleaded guilty to one of 13 charges of felonious sexual assault and is currently serving an eight- to 16-year sentence.

Paul’s suit states that reports that the organization left Paul vulnerable to abuse by assigning Adams to spend significant time alone with her and never acted on both reports and information it had that Adams had a problematic relationship with Paul.

In its response, the club either denied or said it is still internally investigating the vast majority of Paul’s accusations. Those it is still looking into, according to its response, include some of those around Adams’ interactions with supervisors, his interactions with Paul and the club’s practices at the time.

An attorney for Paul questioned why the Boys and Girls Club would still be looking into incidents that took place more than six years ago and for which the abuser has already been convicted.

“This happened in 2018. Why haven’t they investigated before now?” Attorney Kirk Simoneau said. He declined further comment.

In response to a request for comment, the organization shared a near-identical statement to what it issued when Paul’s suit was filed. It emphasizes an organizational commitment to child safety and to take seriously any allegation of abuse.

“We do not tolerate inappropriate or illegal activity from any staff member, volunteer, or youth member,” the statement reads in part. “All employees undergo a thorough criminal background check prior to hire and annually, and all supervisory procedures are designed to ensure the maximum safety and protection of Club members and staff. These policies are reviewed, discussed frequently at the Club, and shared willingly with parents in recognition of the high level of trust they place in us.”

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Paul, now working in childcare, has said it was important for her to come forward publicly to show other survivors that they do not have to hide. In addition to more than $17 million in damages, she is asking the Boys and Girls Club and other childcare facilities to fortify and follow their policies protecting children from abuse.