Parents whose swim team daughters use the locker room at a Washington college are expressing concern following the continued refusal of school officials to stop a crossdressing man from stripping naked along with the girls — many of whom are young children.
According to reports, because of the non-discrimination policy of Evergreen State College, the educational institution feels that it must protect the “civil rights” of the man to use the female locker room. Children from a variety of schools and swim teams are said to use the facility, such as the Aquatics Academy, the Evergreen Swim Club, and the Capital High School and Olympia High School swim teams. The youth range from ages 6-18.
The 45-year-old man, who goes by the name “Colleen Francis,” was recently reported to the police following complaints from parents whose daughters have witnessed the man exposing his body parts by sitting naked in the sauna. One report states that police were contacted by a mother whose 17-year-old daughter was “upset because she observed a person in the women’s locker room naked and displaying male genitalia.”
“[She] felt that her daughter shouldn’t have been a victim to this type of situation and wanted something done about it,” the report, written by Chief Ed Sorger, stated.
Sorger then continued to explain that the previous day, another complaint had been lodged by swim team officials.
“Officers Brewster and Koppenhaver responded to the Campus Recreation Center on a report of a man in the women’s locker room,” he wrote. “Apparently Colleen Francis’ friend … had a conversation with someone at the CRC and was upset that Colleen’s identity was being questioned.”
Sorger outlined that after a teenage girl told her instructors that she had seen a man in the girl’s sauna, the coach for the Evergreen Swim Club confronted the naked man.
“[S]he observed Colleen sitting with her legs open with her male genitalia showing, and Tiffany said to ‘her’, ‘You need to leave,”” he explained.
Sorger stated that the coach then went to the front desk to call police after apologizing to the man and explaining that there were young girls present that “were not used to seeing individuals in situations like this.”
While Chief Sorger states that he contacted the district attorney to see if charges of indecent exposure could be pursued, the DA advised after consulting with other legal experts that the case would be difficult to prosecute.
“[H]e stated that criminal law is very vague in this area, and it would be unlikely they could pursue charges,” Sorger wrote.
Although parents and swim team officials are still very distraught about the matter, the college states the the issue is moot because it has installed privacy screens in the locker room. It also continues to point to school policy.
“We have to follow a nondiscrimination policy with the state,” outlined spokesperson Jason Wettstein to reporters. “State law doesn’t allow us to ignore gender identity as one of the protected classes.”
However, the legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which is representing the concerned parents, is taking the issue very seriously. It recently sent a letter to Evergreen College, rebuking officials for its refusal to take action to protect young, impressionable girls.
“We are aware Evergreen intends to allow Francis to continue to use the women’s locker room pursuant to its nondiscrimination policy,” the letter states. “Any reasonable person would view this as dangerous to the young girls involved. The fact that this individual was sitting in plain view of young girls changing into their swimsuits puts you and Evergreen on notice of possible future harm.”
Francis told a local television station that he doesn’t think he’s done anything wrong.
“This is not 1959 Alabama,” he stated. “We don’t call the police for drinking from the wrong water fountain.”
“Little girls should not be exposed to naked men, period,” ADF fired back.
The matter remains unresolved and could escalate to the courts.