YMCA of San Diego County issues revised statement on locker room incident with underage girl

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Last week, a 17-year-old girl made national headlines after speaking out about an incident involving herself, a naked man using the Santee YMCA women’s locker room.

She Rebecca Phillips shared her scary experience while speaking in front of the Santee City Council, as she noted that staff essentially ignored all of her concerns, since the other person identifies as a women.

Staff said the man, who claims to be transgender, is allowed to shower wherever he wants. Since he identifies as a girl, the naked man chose to use the women’s locker room. Then, the Director of Membership for San Diego County YMCA’s, Teri Maas, called Phillips and informed her she was never in danger with the naked man in the locker room.

Last Friday, Phillips joined KUSI’s Hunter Sowards in studio to elaborate on her experience, and why she felt the need to speak out to protect other girls who frequent the YMCA women’s locker room in the future.

YMCA of San Diego County spokesman Dan Cruz was also on KUSI’s Good Evening San Diego Friday, to explain the YMCA is “dedicated to diversity, inclusion and equity.”

But then, on Monday, the YMCA of San Diego County issued a revised press release, adding an apology the the 17-year-old girl involved in the incident.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 16, 2023

 

The YMCA of San Diego County is a cornerstone of our community, positively impacting the lives of thousands of youths, adults, seniors, and families that rely on us daily. We are committed to diversity, equity and inclusion and want to ensure everyone feels both welcome and safe at our Y.

We understand that the minor involved felt hurt and frustrated, and we wholeheartedly apologize for not providing her with the level of support she deserves. We take great care in fostering a safe, respectful, and supportive atmosphere so everyone can feel comfortable. We are committed to treating every member with dignity and protection and will continue striving towards that goal.

We have a stellar reputation and proven record of protecting and safeguarding children throughout our 150+ years of history. In fact, every YMCA member and employee goes through the National Sex Offender Registry daily, and each location and program operates above and beyond California and national Child Protection laws.

At the YMCA of San Diego County we welcome and value individuals of all ages, races, ethnicity, religion, gender identity, gender expression, abilities, sexual orientation, or financial circumstances. Our YMCA operates in accordance with California law which gives people the right to access the locker rooms, changing rooms, and bathrooms that align with their gender identity. In addition, we rely on subject matter experts, laws, and guidelines established by the State of California to ensure our policies are welcoming and respectful for all community members.

We also provide a private, gender-neutral restroom/shower for members who prefer a private space. As part of our commitment to continuously improve, we are reviewing locker room floorplans across all facilities within our association. Our goal is to ensure that everyone has access to additional privacy if desired and needed.

RELATED STORY: Santee YMCA allows naked man to use women’s locker room with underage girls

The Cameron family, of the Cameron Family YMCA in Santee, has supplied KUSI News with the following statement:

The Cameron Family is and has been a supporter of the Santee YMCA for all the good things they do with children, families, and adults in the Santee community since 2003. We were saddened to hear of Rebecca Philips recent experience at the Santee YMCA and we send our apologies on behalf of the Cameron Family. We understand her concerns, as well as the requirements of the YMCA to be in compliance with State of California laws. We are working diligently with the YMCA to find a solution that will allow Rebecca as well as every child, woman, and man to always feel safe and be safe at the Santee YMCA.

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