Tag Archives: aquatic center

Park officials say public pool is safe, despite recent sexual misconduct incidents

Friday’s arrest of a Bainbridge man for inappropriately touching a girl at the Bainbridge Island Aquatic Center is the second sexual misconduct incident at the public pool in just over a year.

In April 2008, a 44-year-old Bainbridge man was accused of going into a bathroom near the center’s lobby with a 4-year-old girl. According to police, he then took off her bathing suit and observed her use the restroom. The girl’s mother, thinking she’d been in the facility too long, eventually entered and encountered the man, who “froze” and then left, police said. Though charged, the man’s sexual molestation case was thrown out due to lack of evidence.

Officials from the Bainbridge park district, which runs the aquatic center, stressed that the pool is still a safe place for families.

“I think we’re doing an excellent job protecting the public,” park district director Terry Lande said today.

The center has several cameras in public areas and staff are trained to look for signs of sexual misconduct, he said.

“Is (the center) unsafe? It’s probably as safe as any public pool in the country,” he said. “But there are some pretty horrible people out there who walk the streets and walk into public buildings.”

Lande was surprised that the alleged incidents connected to Friday’s arrest occurred out in the open and during a swimming class. Police say the incidents were recorded by the center’s security cameras.

The park district immediately turned over the center’s security tapes and is working with police on the investigation, Lande said.