BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | According to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, a man who was arrested last year and charged with forcibly touching a teenager inside the McBurney YMCA pleaded guilty earlier this month to a lesser charge, plus has agreed to avoid contact with the youth for two years.
According to a D.A. spokesperson, Victor Paravati, age 51 at the time of his arrest, pleaded guilty Oct. 3 to disorderly conduct in connection with the Aug. 19, 2012, incident at the McBurney Y, at 125 W. 14th St., one of the Y’s most high-profile New York City branches.
Paravati was sentenced to time served — the time from his arrest to his arraignment and release on his own recognizance — which, in most such cases, is typically within 24 hours.
While forcible touching is a misdemeanor, disorderly conduct is only a violation.
In addition, Paravati was slapped with an order of protection for two years, during which time he must steer clear of the teen.
According to the D.A.’s Office, the prosecution, speaking in court, said the terms of the case’s resolution were reached after meeting the complainant multiple times, and extensively.
According to police, Paravati was arrested Dec. 21, 2012, at 11:30 p.m., inside the McBurney Y and charged with forcible touching. His address then was 202 W. 24th St.
“He slapped the buttocks of a 17-year-old male for no reason,” a police spokesperson told The Villager this past June, when The Villager first reported the incident.
The police spokesperson confirmed that the arrest happened “inside the facility.” The district attorney’s complaint also states the “occurrence location” was “inside 125 West 14th Street.”
However, the incident actually occurred on Aug. 19, 2012 at 8 p.m., but was not reported until November to police. According to the police spokesperson, it was the only arrest at the McBurney Y in 2012, and there had been no arrests there as of this June.
It was Paravati’s first arrest, according to the D.A.
Coincidentally, four months after the arrest, the McBurney Y, this past April, without explanation, installed dividers in its formerly wide-open men’s shower room.
John Rappaport, the McBurney Y’s senior executive director, subsequently addressed questions about the dividers in a letter to gym members. He explained that the stalls were actually part of the Y’s original design but had been left out because the facility’s construction cost more than originally estimated. The women’s showers have always had dividers.
Rappaport, in his letter, added that some Y members had “expressed feeling very uncomfortable showering in an open environment…or had witnessed inappropriate behavior in the shower area.”
However, shortly after the shower dividers were added, a Y member, requesting anonymity, told The Villager he had heard there had been a situation involving an adult member’s teenage son. The father was reportedly furious.
“It’s my surmising that there is a connection” between the incident and the showers’ renovation, the source said.
The father was reportedly not interested in talking to the press, and attempts in June to reach him for comment were unsuccessful.
Attempts to reach Paravati in June were also unsuccessful.
In several telephone interviews with The Villager in June, Y Director Rappaport said he was unaware of Paravati’s arrest inside the facility that he manages.
“I didn’t know of such an incident,” Rappaport said then. “That’s all news to me.”
Asked if the father had made a complaint to him or other Y staff, Rappaport said he couldn’t comment, noting, “That’s a very intense and private thing.”
He reiterated that the stalls in the men’s showers were part of the original plan for the Y, which opened more than a decade ago.
“A lot of people had said they were uncomfortable in the gang type of shower,” Rappaport said. “It just provides a better environment in a lot of ways.”
However, at least one Y staffer said he was aware of the incident. When a Villager reporter, back in June, asked a McBurney lifeguard why the men’s shower stalls were added, he blurted out, “Someone touched someone.” When the reporter — who is a Y member — subsequently identified himself as such, the lifeguard then quickly gave a different response, saying, like Rappaport, that the dividers were added because they were part of the gym’s original plan.
Asked in June if Paravati was a McBurney Y member and, if so, whether the Y had considered terminating his membership over the incident, Rappaport said, “Our justice system does say, ‘Innocent until convicted.’ When made aware of [a] conviction, we would immediately terminate membership.”
Rappaport did not return phone calls for comment for this article.