Safe Nest confronts allegation of employee misconduct
An employee of Safe Nest, a local non-profit that helps victims of domestic abuse, is behind bars for allegedly attempting to coerce a woman into committing sex acts. Video by ktnv.comvideo
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- An employee of Safe Nest, a local non-profit that helps victims of domestic abuse, is behind bars for allegedly attempting to coerce a woman into committing sex acts.
Ben Vitale, 59, is the director of the organization's donation center near Craig and Losee. He's worked there for the past eight years.
North Las Vegas Police say a 24-year-old woman showed-up at the donation center to work off her court-ordered community service hours. She claims Vitale propositioned her for sex, in exchange for signing off on her work hours.
Vitale was arrested Tuesday on one count each of open and gross lewdness, forgery, and sexually motivated coercion.
The allegation comes as a shock to Safe Nest.
"It's a stark contrast to our mission here to help women," says the organization's spokeswoman, Lisa Lynn Chapman. "We do background checks on all of our employees. We really did not have any idea."
Safe Nest has suspended Vitale, and besides cooperating with police, is conducting its own internal investigation.
"We're taking this allegation very, very seriously," Chapman says. "We want to make sure our organization does right by everybody. We're doing everything we can."
Chapman also wants to point out that Vitale did not have anything to do with the non-profit's main office, or woman's shelter.
"I want to assure everyone that he did not have any contact with victims of domestic violence," she says. "He was only in charge of the donation center, which is a separate entity."
Detectives are investigating the possibility of more victims.
Anyone with any information regarding this case is urged to call North Las Vegas Police at 702-633-9111. To remain anonymous call Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555.
Action News was able to speak with Vitale's daughter outside his home. She says her father is innocent.