Caleb Gaston — the former YMCA employee charged with sexually assaulting two young children he was watching in the downtown Wichita branch's drop-in nursery — pleaded not guilty Thursday after waiving his right to a hearing where prosecutors would have presented evidence in the case. Bo Rader Eagle file
Caleb Gaston — the former YMCA employee charged with sexually assaulting two young children he was watching in the downtown Wichita branch's drop-in nursery — pleaded not guilty Thursday after waiving his right to a hearing where prosecutors would have presented evidence in the case. Bo Rader Eagle file

Crime & Courts

YMCA worker accused of 4-year-old’s rape also fondled younger child, affidavit says

By Amy Renee Leiker

aleiker@wichitaeagle.com

March 06, 2018 05:18 PM

Caleb Gaston – the YMCA worker accused of sexually assaulting children he watched in the downtown branch’s drop-in nursery – was caught on security camera pushing his hand down a 3-year-old girl’s pants and underwear, according to an affidavit released Tuesday.

The affidavit is the second released by Sedgwick County District Court that details allegations against Gaston, 21.

Gaston was arrested Jan. 31 after a 27-year-old woman told police that her 4-year-old daughter had been sexually assaulted at the Downtown YMCA on Jan. 29. The girl was in the Kid Zone of the YMCA, 402 N. Market, when she was struck twice in the face by Gaston and taken into a bathroom and allegedly assaulted.

The newly released affidavit says that while investigating the alleged rape of the 4-year-old girl, a Wichita police detective watched security camera footage taken in the Downtown YMCA’s Kid Zone on Jan. 24 and saw him assaulting the 3-year-old girl. The Kid Zone is a place inside the Ys where parents can leave their children aged 6 weeks to 7 years for while they take classes or exercise.

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Gaston’s attorney, Steve Ariagno, has previously said his client “denies any and all allegations of wrongdoing.”

Gaston, 21, has been charged with rape in connection the 4-year-old’s assault. He’s also facing a count of aggravated indecent liberties with a child for the events involving the 3-year-old girl.

He was a part-time employee with the YMCA for five years, working recently in the Kid Zones at the downtown and east branches.

Former YMCA worker Caleb Gaston was charged with indecent liberties involving a second child Monday afternoon in Judge Faith Maughan's court. Bond was set at $1 million. (Feb. 12, 2018)

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According to the affidavit released Tuesday:

While investigating the 4-year-old’s sexual assault, a detective viewed video that shows Gaston working as a staff member in the Kid Zone on Jan. 24 for at least two hours — from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

At 6:40 p.m., the footage shows Gaston picking up a 3-year-old girl “who appears to be crying and then sits on the table by the front door” of the nursery area. When another staff member went to the front counter of the Kid Zone near them, Gaston picked up the girl “and carries her to the back part of the child care area away from (the staff member).”

Gaston can be seen on film looking over his shoulder while the girl is facing him chest-to-chest and has his back turned away from the other staff member, it says. He assaults the girl and then quickly turns toward the other staff member at the front counter before assaulting the girl again, the affidavit says.

When he put her down, the girl ran toward female staff members and was “upset and crying for the remainder of her stay at the YMCA.” She didn’t have contact with Gaston again until she left.

When interviewed, the girl’s mother said she and her daughter had only been to the downtown YMCA three times. The mother reported hearing news reports about Gaston’s arrest. But, she told police, her daughter “did not say anything to her” and she “noticed no physical injury” on her daughter.

Gaston remains in the Sedgwick County Jail on Tuesday in lieu of $1.1 million bond. His next court date is April 5.

Amy Renee Leiker: 316-268-6644, @amyreneeleiker