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Girl Scouts comment on Erie County arraignment

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Fri, Jun 19th 2020 05:15 pm

Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn on Friday announced 31-year-old Marty M. Walton of North Tonawanda was virtually arraigned before Buffalo City Court Judge Andrew C. LoTempio, acting as an Amherst Town Court justice, on one count of criminal sexual act in the first degree, a class “B” felony, one count of sexual abuse in the first degree, a class “D” felony, and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, class “A” misdemeanors.

It is alleged that, between March 27 and May 9, 2020, the defendant, a Girl Scout leader, engaged in sexual conduct with two child victims at a location in the Town of Amherst.

Walton is scheduled to return at 9:30 a.m. Friday, July 10, for a felony hearing. He was remanded without bail.

If convicted on all charges, Walton faces a maximum of 25 years in prison.

Flynn commended the Amherst Police Department for its work on the case.

The case is being prosecuted by Chief Lynette M. Reda of the DA’s special victims bureau.

As are all persons accused of a crime, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

On Friday afternoon, Girl Scouts of Western New York CEO Alison Wilcox said, "All of us at the Girl Scouts of Western New York want to express our concern for the two children and we want them to have the best-possible care and support. There is nothing more important to Girl Scouts than the safety and well-being of all children, and we take all such allegations very seriously. This is hugely distressing to us.”

“Since the first arrests, we learned from North Tonawanda police that the reported abuse did not take place at a Girl Scout facility, or during Girl Scout activities.”

“Nonetheless, we continue to emphasize the rules and regulations involving adult-Girl Scout interactions, safety and well-being. The male troop co-leader passed thorough background checks in 2016 and again in October 2019. Both adults were immediately removed from all GSWNY activities May 29. We are conducting a rigorous internal investigation, reviewing our regulations, and continue to cooperate with law enforcement.”

GSWNY stated, “By way of relevant background, please know this is the first time that a GSWNY volunteer has been involved in allegations such as these.

“Also, our rules state that there are always at least two approved, unrelated, adult volunteers, at least one of whom is a female, with any girl or group of girls following prescribed adult-to-girl ratios. These include co-leaders, chaperones, and troop drivers, all of whom must pass a background check every three years. The father/troop co-leader in this case passed background checks in October 2016, and again in October 2019.

“GSWNY has about 15,000 Girl Scouts, and more than 6,000 adult volunteers across its nine counties of operation. There have been no in-person Girl Scout meetings or sanctioned activities since March 15, due to COVID-19.”

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