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Thu, Dec. 12

Accused abuser, area nonprofit facing lawsuit

Offutt

Offutt

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PRESCOTT – A civil lawsuit has been filed against Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters and Jeremy A. Offutt, a one-time Big Brother who was sentenced to prison on child sex charges related to a boy he was mentoring.

Offutt, 25, was arrested Jan. 13, 2016, after a tip from the state Department of Child Safety reported that Offutt had confessed to his wife that he had sexual contact with a teen boy a year earlier, according to a Prescott Police probable cause statement.

Offutt had been paired with the boy as a Big Brother in March 2014, the statement said.

The boy told police that Offutt had sexual contact with him while in Offutt’s dorm room on the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University campus as well as while they drove in a car, the statement said, and Offutt also showed the boy pornography on a computer.

Offutt accepted a plea agreement in September, pleading guilty to four counts of attempted child molestation, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison, followed by lifetime probation.

The civil lawsuit, filed by the boy’s guardian on behalf of the boy, alleges that YBBBS was aware “through its match supervisor,” that Offutt was staying overnight with the victim, in violation of its own rules.

The rules, the filing states, prohibit overnight stays until a six-month probationary period is up, but Offutt took the boy on overnight camping trips before that, and “Offutt, with the knowledge and consent of defendant YBBBS, spent numerous non-consecutive nights at (the victim’s) home,” as well as a two-week period in May and June 2015.

The filing alleges that Offutt sexually molested the victim “repeatedly” between January and August 2015.

Although it does not detail why, the complaint states, “Defendants knew or should have known that defendant Offutt posed a significant risk of injury to children.”

The lawsuit asks for an unspecified amount of money for pain and suffering, medical bills, and punitive damages.

“Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters has been in our community for 45 years with over 11,000 children served. The welfare of our children has always been, and will continue to be, our number one concern,” YBBBS President and CEO Juliana Goswick said.

“We are aware of the recently received lawsuit and it is currently being reviewed by our attorneys, Musgrove, Drutz, Kack, and Flack.”

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