Youth Interactive in Santa Barbara has temporarily suspended programs for students following a sexual assault complaint filed in San Luis Obispo last month.
The nonprofit arts and entrepreneurial academy for at-risk youth operates in downtown Santa Barbara.
The case alleges a former nonprofit mentor raped a then-14-year-old girl while she was part of the organization’s program in 2014.
“In the aftermath of these allegations being made public, various organizations indicated they wouldn’t recommend, probably out of an abundance of caution, students attend our program until this issue has been resolved and thoroughly investigated,” said attorney Robert Forouzandeh. “They also told other students not to attend programs in the same building that we occupy.”
Forouzandeh is representing Youth Interactive.
Other tenants and organizations were operating at Youth Interactive’s facility at 1219 State Street. The Youth Interactive location doubles as a workspace for other nonprofits serving youth.
“Solely to protect our co-tenants and further problems like this, we decided to temporarily suspend the program, and we have been helping students get the support they need from other partners and programs,” Forouzandeh told Noozhawk.
Youth Interactive moved into the downtown space from its smaller location in the Funk Zone thanks to the Hutton Parker Foundation, which purchased the State Street building.
The Hutton Parker Foundation is working with the other youth-focused nonprofits to ensure those services are available, said Tom Parker, president of the foundation.
“Our concern is the kids that are there right now,” Parker said, adding, “We (Hutton Parker Foundation) are trying to help the kids and working with the other nonprofits.”
The organizations are expected to meet later this week to discuss options, and could possibly pick up some of the youth services. As of Wednesday afternoon, it was unsure of the exact outcome.
The complaint was filed by San Luis Obispo-based Ernst Law Group in October.
— Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.