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Former Rockaway youth leader under investigation for alleged rape

The former leader of an influential Rockaway youth organization is under fire.

Milan Taylor, the founder and former executive director of the Rockaway Youth Task Force, allegedly raped and sexually assaulted two female members who accused their former leader on social media.

“Milan Taylor groomed, manipulated, gaslighted, bullied, harassed, sexually, emotionally, and verbally abused me,” former Community Engagement Organizer Andrea Colon wrote on Twitter Dec. 30. “At the age of 17, on February 24th, 2018, after midnight at the RYTF Office, Milan Taylor gave me alcohol and raped me despite my pleas.”

Taylor, who could not be reached for comment, resigned from the Rockaway Youth Task Force in October, according to Jazmine Outlaw, the group’s current leader.

“RYTF takes all allegations of harm seriously, especially those of sexual harm. As an organization primarily composed of young women of color, there is absolutely no place for any woman to feel unsafe or at danger while working for or volunteering with RYTF. RYTF is taking multiple courses of action to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again,” Outlaw said in a statement. “We are working with multiple consultants to improve organizational culture and ensure that RYTF is a place for everyone, especially young women of color, to thrive.”

Taylor had been politically connected in southeast Queens for years.

Congressman Gregory Meeks commented on the allegations Monday, saying he was “deeply disturbed by the accusations levied against Mr. Taylor by multiple young women.

“I strongly believe that we should listen to women and protect them at all cost,” Meeks added. “With such serious allegations, we cannot be silent and we must take action to ensure that young women are not abused, intimidated or taken advantage of by people that are supposed to be leaders in the community. There should be a swift and thorough investigation, and if these allegations are true, Mr. Taylor must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Senator James Sanders Jr. said that he, too, was “deeply disturbed to hear about the allegations involving the Rockaway Youth Task Force,” an organization that mentors young people in the community.

“We have come a long way in our society when it comes to ending the harm and exploitation faced by so many women; however, even one incident is too many,” he said.  “Anyone who does not understand that exploiting women is wrong needs to go. I encourage anyone else who has been victimized to come forward. These charges are serious and need to be investigated to ensure appropriate action is taken and justice is served.”

Newly elected Assemblyman Khaleel Anderson, a former advisor to the Rockaway Youth Task Force, said his office is cooperating with an ongoing investigation into the allegations.

“The allegations by young women of the Rockaway Youth Task Force against Milan R. Taylor has overwhelmed me with agonizing sadness,” Anderson said in a statement. “I commend the bravery of the survivors who already have come forward to share traumatic accounts. I denounce in the strongest terms possible the behaviors they have brought to light. There can be no excuse for workplace bullying, abuse or violence. RYTF was born to become a beacon of hope and promise for our young people seeking an avenue to improve our community. We all have an interest to make sure it remains a safe space for or young people of color. Our office has been working with law enforcement to investigate the reported allegations, and we are committed to continue that cooperation to see that justice is done.”

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