Einstein Bagels in Grand Junction is asking customers to round up their change to support an evangelical Christian missionary youth group, Young Life, that is facing a slew of sexual misconduct lawsuits by former club participants across the country and at least four Equal Employment Opportunity Complaints for racial discrimination, improper termination and other sordid allegations.
The group, Young Life, came under federal investigation after students, members and volunteers across the country reported they had experienced unwanted sexual advances and solicitations, racially discriminatory comments and treatment, and verbal harassment consisting of sexual innuendoes, comments, jokes, inappropriate texts and social media messages, grooming, inappropriate physical touching, sexual assault, racially discriminatory treatment and retaliation against volunteers who reported such events.
People forced out of Young Life for reporting sexual misconduct
After Becca Wong, a Young Life student leader in Michigan, reported an incident of forced oral sex on another member to the organization’s leadership, the leadership forced her out of the organization “in direct retaliation” for reporting the assault, Wong says. In an interview to Michigan Daily, Wong said,
“It’s a very harmful experience but when you’re in (Young Life), you really drink the Kool Aid and you really believe everything they’re doing… Leaving Young Life was a very eye-opening experience, and you can’t really see the problems in Young Life until you’re out of it.”
Laureana Arellano brought a lawsuit after she was racially and sexually harassed at a Young Life summer camp in Colorado in 2019. Arellano said in her legal complaint that a coworker assaulted her by “shoving his hand down her apron and groping her genitalia.” Court paperwork says that when she reported it, a manager told her it was “God’s plan.” Arellano reached a settlement agreement with Young Life, the terms of which are undisclosed.
Brie Boatman, a former staff member who left YoungLife in 2018, said
“Women are not safe in this ministry if Young Life is going to listen to our stories and do nothing about it.”
CMU and many local businesses continue to support Young Life despite allegations, lawsuits & complaints about misconduct
A host of prominent Grand Junction businesses support Young Life by participating in a discount card program the organization uses to raise money to send youth to Young Life camps. The organization also flourishes on college campuses, including at Colorado Mesa University, which welcomes the group in spite of its fraught reputation.
Young Life is a $500 million, Colorado Springs-based organization that works to lure young people into Christianity. It starts recruiting kids as young as middle school, is present in all 50 states and in over 100 countries around the world.
If you have experienced sexual assault, harassment or other misconduct while in Young Life, you can report it to Business Insider, which is compiling reports on such incidents, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact the Denver-based law firm, Rathod Mohamedbhai LLC, that is handling many cases against Young Life already, at 303-578-4400 or fill in the contact form at their website.