Lawsuit Against Rose Bowl Aquatic Center Goes to Trial Wednesday Morning After Judge Denies Request to Dismiss

Published : Wednesday, May 30, 2018 | 5:55 AM

Suspect Leslie Dittert, 60, formerly of Glendale, and the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center front entrance.

A lawsuit against the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center alleging it allowed unfettered and unmonitored access to child patrons which led to a boy’s repeated molestation goes to trial Wednesday after a Superior Court judge denied the Center’s request to have the case thrown out, and ruled the trial should go forward.

Court proceedings are set to begin Wednesday morning, and jury selection may begin by Friday.

The lawsuit claims the center maintained poor security and failed to adequately monitor and supervise children under its “care, custody and control.” That alleged negligence, the complaint argues, allowed another patron, then-57-year-old Glendale resident Leslie Dittert, to repeatedly sexually abuse and molest the boy in the men’s locker room, family changing rooms, and the jacuzzi over a period of six months.

The allegations arose from an incident on May 18, 2015, when an 11-year-old boy who was participating in a swim team practice at the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center told his mother he had been sexually molested by an older man inside the facility.

Center staff were told and called police. Dittert was taken into custody.

Follow-up questioning by Pasadena Police Department officers led to the boy revealing sexual abuse allegedly committed by Dittert had been occurring since December, 2014 at various locations inside the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center.

Both the Center and police appealed to the public for anyone with any knowledge of Dittert’s alleged activities to step forward.

The case was presented to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office on Thursday, May 21, 2015, which declined to file charges. Dittert was released from custody that afternoon.

A redacted Pasadena police report later submitted to the court showed other young Rose Bowl Aquatic Center patrons have since related their experiences with Dittert, which police have referred to the District Attorney’s office.

“It is our understanding that Dittert left the country,” Pat Amsbry, the Center’s Chairman of the Board, and Kurt Knop, its President and Executive Director, said in a statement this month.

The pair also said in the statement that “any report alleging sexual misconduct is taken very seriously by us,” and also that “in the 28 years that the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center has been serving the greater Pasadena community, we are not aware of any other allegations of sexual misconduct.”

“The Center is vigorously defending itself against many of the allegations in the case,” Amsbry and Knop said.

Additionally, the two said, the Center has updated its security protocols and added numerous security cameras.

“The Center continues to review its policies, procedures and staff training,” they wrote, “and will be retaining an outside security consultant to conduct a safety audit of our current Center practices.”

 

 

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