KDHE explains why YMCA may have missed Gaston’s previous complaint

Caleb Gaston (Mug shot courtesy Sedgwick County Jail)

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – KSN learned new details Friday about the man who is accused of sexually assaulting a 4-year-old girl at a Wichita YMCA.

21-year-old Caleb Gaston is charged with one count of rape. KSN News learned Gaston worked at the downtown and East YMCA locations.We also uncovered that he worked at a church-sponsored preschool.

A minister told KSN Gaston was fired because a complaint was filed accusing him of inappropriately touching a child.

So if Gaston was already under investigation, how did he get another job in child care?

KSN talked to KDHE officials who investigate these types of claims.

The communications director says they investigated the complaint from Plymouth Congregational Church last year because they are a licensed child care facility.
He says because the YMCA’s kid zone where the alleged rape happened is not a licensed facility, they may have missed Gaston’s previous complaint.

Parents and others in the community are asking questions about Gaston and his background after his arrest this week.

“How did you get the opportunity to do something so horrific and how do you even have the guts to commit such a crime?,” said Danielle Rayton, mother.

Gaston is charged with rape and is being held on a 100,000 dollar bond after allegedly sexually assaulting a 4-year-old girl at the downtown YMCA. Friday officials with Plymouth Congregational Church confirmed he was let go after a complaint of inappropriate touching with a preschooler. The KDHE confirms a complaint was received by them on October 9th of last year, but there were no findings.

“Took about a month and a half to complete that investigation, and in the end, the claim was found to be unsubstantiated,” said Gerald Kratochvil, Communications Director at KDHE.

Wichita Police says they investigated a case on October 9th of 2017 involving potential sexual abuse against a 2-year-old male at the congregational learning center on 202 North Clifton, and that case was presented to the district attorney’s office. That’s the same date the report about Gaston was received by KDHE.

But Kratochvil says since the YMCA’s kid zone facility is not a licensed child care facility they wouldn’t be notified about the incident.

“When parents are on the premises of the facility then they are not required to have a license and because of that, KDHE does not regulate them,” said Kratochvil.

He says to the KDHE’s knowledge, Gaston passed background checks at the start of 2016 and the middle of 2017, before the complaint against him.

We contacted the YMCA to ask about their background checks but they have not responded to specific questions or requests for an interview.

The YMCA did issue a statement Friday evening that reads in part “…because of this, our focus has been identifying and notifying the families of children who may have interacted with Mr. Gaston during his time of employment at the Y. As we contact families, we are asking them to be aware of signs and symptoms of abuse and encouraging them to talk to their children about their experiences at the Y. ”

Thursday the Y told KSN that it will be reviewing it’s hiring and safety practices as a result of this incident.

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