A longtime member of the Tarrytown Volunteer Ambulance Corps who was has been reinstated to full and unrestricted membership.
In an email sent to Patch Monday, Young's lawyer, Stephen R. Lewis, wrote that based on the results of a special hearing, Young has been notified by “the Board of Directors that his suspension of membership has been lifted and he is fully reinstated to the TVAC without restriction of any kind.”Let Patch save you time. Get breaking news like this delivered right to your inbox or smartphone everyday with our free newsletter. Fast signup here.
Young, 65, a 17-year veteran, had been ordered by the board in 2011 not to be alone with female members following complaints alleging inappropriate behavior. He did not comply and was put on a six-month suspension in July, 2011 by the then-captain, who has since left the corps.
The nine women came forward in person or in writing at a meeting of the TVAC Board of Directors on Jan. 25, 2012 alleging incidents of sexual harassment going back five years.
In March, seven board members voted to revoke Young's membership and four voted to reinstate him, not producing a clear majority with which to proceed. Young was in something of limbo, still considered a member but not on active duty.
In the corps by-laws, Section 3 has a four-paragraph section on suspension, termination and restriction of membership. It outlines the process of suspension as follows:
First a member “whose action or failure to act is deemed to be detrimental to the best interest of the corps” is suspended by the Captain, “acting in good faith and belief.”
Then, the Board of Directors “by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of all the members of the Board shall, after an appropriate hearing, upon reasonable notice, either terminate the restrictions or suspension, continue the restrictions or suspension, or expel the member from the Corps.”
A suspension lasts for no more than six months. “In the event that the reason for such suspension has not been cured or rectified by the end of the suspension period, the Board may thereafter terminate the membership of such suspended member after an appropriate hearing, upon reasonable notice.”
With the six months suspension limit past due, and the vote considered unclear, by Young's written request on April 3 the corps held a special meeting to select a 6-person grievance committee to revisit the matter of his membership. By the corps by-laws, the chairman of the board appoints a committee of three members and the membership elects three riding members to serve. This grievance committee met on May 10.
According to former officer Murat Turk, none of the women who had formally issued complaints were called upon to participate in the grievance committee proceedings, nor was the women's lawyer. The committee, said Turk, "never asked for these documents, never asked us any questions. They never questioned any of the females... They did not allow the females attorney Karen Z'Danis to the meeting."
Young and his lawyer apparently both spoke, along with several character witnesses. This meeting was considered open, though open only to members.
According to the by-laws, “the member [who requested the grievance mechanism] may request a closed or open hearing... The committee shall reach a decision in a closed meeting.”
The grievance committee's job was to examine that 7-4 vote and report a recommendation to the Board on May 17 (within the 7-day period specified by the by-laws).
Young's lawyer was pleased with the outcome. “I applaud the TVAC hearing committee for its fair and impartial handling of this matter,” Lewis wrote.
Lewis feels his client has been vindicated, though not left unharmed:
To the people who engaged is spreading false and malicious allegations as to this man—all I can say is, they should be ashamed of themselves.
This has been a long and difficult period for Mr. Young. Despite his reinstatement—his reputation has been damaged; but hopefully this outcome will in part repair some of that harm.
He looks forward to continuing his 17 years of volunteer service to his community.
Since the news broke publicly that current and former members of the corps had issued complaints with its board and subsequently, with the NYS Division of Human Rights, the corps has lost several members and been torn by competing allegiances.
Editor's note: Murat Turk had been titled in an earlier version of this article as former Captain, when he in fact was an officer. Our apologies for the error.