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Wilmington Family YMCA Changes Background Check Policy for Volunteers After Gallagher's Arrest

New Hanover County Sheriff's Office
James Raymond Gallagher

A Wilmington Family YMCA volunteer was charged with child abduction and DWI earlier this month. The YMCA did not run a criminal background check on the suspect, James Raymond Gallagher. 

But early this week, the Wilmington Y changed its policy. In light of Gallagher’s arrest, CEO Dick Jones says they’ll conduct criminal background checks on all volunteers:

"Looking at additional steps to ensure the safety of our young people would be a good thing for not only for our organization but others in our community. And so, you know, this situation as well as the fact that we’ve got a fire, and we’re moving to a different location, and our programs are all spread out, it’s caused me to think about can we, should we be doing more things to protect the children in our community."

In the past, the YMCA has run criminal background checks on employees, but not all volunteers. Jones says volunteers were reviewed through the North Carolina Department of Justice registry for sex offenders. But such a check would not have turned up any other criminal charges – such as Gallagher’s two North Carolina misdemeanor convictions.