WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The 21-year-old man accused of raping a 4-year-old girl at the downtown YMCA has been released.
Caleb Gaston is charged with rape in an attack on a 4-year-old child on January 29. He was being held on a $100,000 bond.
Gaston had been a part-time employee at the YMCA since 2013.
YMCA leaders said cameras are in the Kid Zone areas of the YMCA and while they believe it is an isolated incident, they urge parents to talk to their children and report any concerns to police.
Read the full statement below:
Dear YMCA family,
I come to you with a heavy heart today as we all struggle with the recent allegations against a former YMCA employee.
I wanted to share directly with you, our Y family and community, updated information pertaining to this alleged incident at the Downtown YMCA. Please understand first and foremost that we know you are as shocked and devastated by these allegations as we are.
Our prayers and thoughts are with the family, and we thank you for the prayers and support you have already shown for the family and the Y.
It’s important that we let you know we are working closely with the police in their investigation while also taking action as quickly as possible.
In reviewing that information, here are some details we feel are important to share with you, to help assure you that the YMCA takes this situation very seriously and that we are and continue to be a safe place for your family.
First, we want to let you know that Mr. Gaston was a part-time employee with the Y starting in 2013. When he was hired, he underwent our rigid employment processes, including a background and reference check. At this time, his employment has been terminated and he is not permitted on YMCA premises.
We also want you to know that there are cameras in every Kid Zone. These cameras are recording whenever there is activity in the Kid Zone. In addition, during the time of the alleged incident at the Downtown YMCA, there were additional staff present in the Kid Zone.
I also want to apologize to you for the delay in reaching out to you.
We truly value you as YMCA members and participants. However, our communication priority for the past two days has been reaching out to parents of children who may have had interactions with Mr. Gaston. We have been working to identify and notify these families. If your family had interactions with Mr. Gaston and we have not yet contacted you, we apologize.
It is our current understanding that this allegation is an isolated incident at the Y. However, we want to make sure this is the case. If you feel your child may have had interaction with Mr. Gaston, we have set up a web page to both help you identify signs and symptoms of abuse and guide you through having those tough conversations with your child. You can access this information at ymcawichita.org/talk.
This web page also includes information on who to contact at the YMCA if you have any questions as well as how to notify the Wichita Police Department’s Exploited and Missing Children Unit should the conversation with your child give you cause for concern.
Please know that we are continuing to evaluate our processes and procedures because we take safety very seriously. We will continue to share as much information as we can, as quickly as we possibly can and directly to you.
We are heartbroken by these allegations and please join us with prayers for the family during this difficult time.
Thank you as always for being part of our Y family.
President and CEO, Greater Wichita YMCA