Both were 'Boy of the Year'; suits call them abusers - Albuquerque Journal

Both were ‘Boy of the Year’; suits call them abusers

The Boys Club in Old Town as seen in 2006. (Dean Hanson/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

Additional lawsuits filed this week alleging sexual abuse by former directors of the Old Town Boys Club bring to seven the number of lawsuits filed this year against the club.

The three suits filed Monday in 2nd Judicial District Court allege two former directors used their positions to abuse three unidentified Albuquerque boys who sought recreational opportunities at the club in the 1980s. They identify former director Eddie Valtierra and his successor, Dominic Yannoni, as abusers who preyed on boys at the club.

Two of the suits also allege that, as a boy, Yannoni himself was abused by the older Valtierra when he attended the club.

Valtierra was fired as director in response to reports of his misconduct with children, according to lawsuits. He died in 1998.

Efforts to reach Yannoni on Wednesday were unsuccessful.

As seniors in high school, both Valtierra and Yannoni were recognized by the Albuquerque Boys Club as “Boy of the Year,” according to Journal reports.

Valtierra, then 18, was so honored in 1976 and Yannoni in 1982, at age 17. All seven lawsuits identify the defendants as Boys and Girls Clubs of Central New Mexico, successor to the Albuquerque Boys Club, and its parent organization, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, an Atlanta-based nonprofit.

Mary Rigas, a spokeswoman for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, said the organization is aware of allegations of abuse “dating back multiple decades.”

The national organization today requires all affiliates to adhere to rigid safety protocols, including annual background checks, immediate reporting of abuse allegations, mandatory training and annual safety assessments, Rigas said.

“Our hearts remain with any survivors and their families, and we have great respect for those who have courageously brought forward these particularly important concerns,” she said.

One new suit, filed by “John Doe 5,” alleges that Valtierra began to abuse the victim around 1980 when the boy attended the club as an elementary student.

In the other two new lawsuits, John Does 6 and 7 identify Yannoni as their abuser. Some incidents of abuse occurred in Yannoni’s office at the club, one suit alleges. All three suits seek unspecified damages.

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