The Boys and Girls Club of Muncie is one of many organizations throughout the Muncie community looking for volunteers this summer. Grace Ramey // DN File
Inappropriate texts brought to light after resignation of Boys & Girls Club director
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that the Boys & Girls Club of Muncie follows a code of ethics, outlining policies for all personnel. In addition to being the board's president, Juli Metzger is also the Unified Media Coordinator and instructor at Ball State. If you have information to add to the story, contact firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
The departure of the head of the Boys & Girls Club followed the disclosure of text messages soliciting oral sex from a teenage former member of the club.
Micah Maxwell, a leading member of Muncie’s black community, announced his resignation as executive director of the club Dec. 6, saying he made a “bad decision.” Maxwell, while admitting to violating the club’s standard of high integrity and moral character, emphasized that his conduct did “not include minors.” Juli Metzger, president of the Boys & Girls Club, said Maxwell "resigned under fire."
Neither Maxwell nor members of the club’s board of directors would elaborate or give reason for Maxwell’s departure, but Tristan, the dad of the teen, said his son was the target of sexually aggressive texts from Maxwell. The son and his mother, both of whom asked not to be named, confirmed the communications. The Daily News is keeping Tristan's last name out of the story to protect the identity of the teen.
Copies of the texts obtained by the Daily News included an exchange from Nov. 25 between Maxwell and the son, who is 19 and had been a member of the club since he was young.
“I wanna suck your d—k man,” Maxwell said in a text.
“What hell no,” the son responded. “I’m 100% straight dude.”
Maxwell did not respond for comment after repeated attempts to contact him, nor did multiple Boys & Girls Club current and former employees.
“There’s probably more kids out there that he’s messed with, that’s why I want to get it out there,” Tristan said. “The Boys & Girls Club is supposed to be safe for the kids, and I don’t want my kid getting taken advantage of.”
‘He kept sexually harassing my son’
Tristan found out about the messages after Maxwell resigned and after his son's mom went to the board. He said he always knew there was something off about Maxwell, but didn’t ever think it would be something like this.
“[Maxwell] crossed the line when he tried to be aggressive," Tristan said. "He kept sexually harassing my son.”
The record of the exchange shows Maxwell persisted over a period of several hours, asking the son nine times for oral sex.
“I can’t drop it,” Maxwell texted at one point. “It’s something I want. So I’m willing to do whatever. Name your price dude.”
But these messages weren’t the first Maxwell had sent the son.
Originally, the son only texted Maxwell to ask about unlocking the doors to the gym so he and his friends could play basketball. But after awhile, the texts became more frequent.
“I told him, don’t come at me like that — you’re not supposed to be acting like that with all these kids, even when they graduate,” the son told the Daily News. “He kept telling me he was nervous to ask me something. He kept telling me to go to his house. He started to get more aggressive.”
Maxwell even tried to bribe him with cash, the son said, but he didn’t take it. And Maxwell wouldn’t stop asking.
The son initially told his mom and stepdad, and his mom went to the board on her own to address the situation. She gave the board the text messages and told them her son had no reason to lie about this.
About a week later, the board called and said Maxwell was no longer working or affiliated with the club, the mom told the Daily News.
And she didn’t stop there. She notified the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office about the texts. Her son is 19, so there could be no criminal charges, but because Maxwell was offering money, that changed things, the mom was told.
The sheriff’s department said they could neither confirm nor deny that they were investigating the matter. The Muncie Police Department has no pending charges against Maxwell.
The victim and his family said they became alarmed when Maxwell refused to drop the issue even after being told “no” repeatedly.
At the end of one exchange on Nov. 25 during which the son said eight times that he wasn’t interested, Maxwell replied:
“Bro. I’m not worried about you telling ppl. You said your texts were private so I trust you. I keep my business private too. But offer stands...you let me know what I gotta do and let’s make it happen. If you don’t want me to bring it up anymore I won’t. But you can hit me up whenever. I’m ready when you are.”
A long history of working with kids
Maxwell has worked with kids for most of his adult career — the South Madison Community Center, Muncie Children’s Museum, Youth Empowerment Initiative, the Roy C. Buley Community Center, Indiana Youth Institute and the Boys & Girls Club. Because of that history, Maxwell made sure to emphasize in his resignation statement that “my actions did not include minors.”
But for those who have known Maxwell for a long time, his actions don’t come as a surprise.
Demetrius Hall was a member of the Buley Center when Maxwell was the executive director there in the early 2000s. He said Maxwell always “gave off a weird vibe.”
“He was very personable with all of the youth ... but there were certain times when my parents in particular thought he crossed boundaries,” Hall said. “My parents didn’t let me go anywhere private with him.”
Maxwell was always like a big brother to the kids, Hall said, and he was close to the kids.
“The whole situation is unfortunate because [Maxwell] is a pillar in the black community in Muncie,” Hall said. “A lot of people trusted [Maxwell] in terms of his handling with youth.
“It’s another crutch of trust you can’t put in the community.”
The Boys & Girls Club follows a code of ethics, outlining policies and professional expectations for staff members, according to a copy of the code obtained by the Daily News.
All staff members are expected to "demonstrate the highest standards of individual conduct, personal accountability, integrity, trustworthiness, fair dealings, considerations of the rights of others and the highest principles of good business relationships," according to the code of ethics. The policy also states that staff must "adhere to all BGCM policies related to behavior, conduct and contact with the youth served by BGCM" and "make every effort to avoid relationships that could impair professional judgement."
According to the code of ethics, disciplinary action may be taken, including dismissal, for violation of staff policies.
Mark McKinney, one of the club’s board members, said the club regularly reviews its personnel policies, but would not specify if they would be making any changes to the policies in the near future.
They’ll be forming a search committee, McKinney said, to find a new executive director. They don’t have a specific timeline, but he hopes to replace Maxwell “sooner than later.” He hopes within 90 days.
“It’ll be the same process we go through with every new hire,” McKinney said. “We’ll put out a listing and take applications.”
For the time being, however, Jodi Martin, a 20-year veteran of Boys & Girls Club of America, has been named Interim Executive Director.
Martin, whose background is in accounting, has spent the last four years working on a contract basis for clubs across the Midwest. She started with Boys & Girls Club of America in 1997 and was a Regional Services Director serving clubs in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska and Wisconsin from 2001-2012.
"Jodi brings a high level of expertise and knowledge about [Boys & Girls Club of America] standards and procedures," Metzger said. "She will work with staff and board members, as well as parents and, of course, the kids as we move forward, ensuring the safety and well being of all our kids."
In the meantime, the 19-year-old’s mom encourages others to come forward if Maxwell has been close with their kids or has done something he shouldn’t have.
“Nothing will happen to their kids if they do — this is important,” she said. “As long as I’m doing my job, he’s not going to be around kids anymore. If that happens, I’ll be satisfied.”