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Ohio woman says son with Down syndrome was excluded from summer camp, sues YMCA

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In this photo, Steven Heffron, 6, and his mother, Denise Watts, play in Smale Riverfront Park in downtown Cincinnati. Watts has filed a federal lawsuit alleging discrimination, saying an Ohio YMCA excluded her son from summer camp because he has Down syndrome and treated him hypocritically after using him in promotions extolling opportunities for everyone. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

CINCINNATI (July 8, 2015) — The mother of a 6-year-old boy with Down syndrome says in a federal lawsuit that an Ohio YMCA excluded him from a summer camp and some other programs because of his disability and treated him hypocritically after using him in promotions extolling opportunities for everyone.

Denise Watts has sued in Cincinnati alleging discrimination by the Great Miami Valley YMCA in Butler County.

The lawsuit says the YMCA violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act by not providing “reasonable accommodations” in its programs and by discriminating and retaliating against her son based on his disability. The lawsuit wants the YMCA to provide such accommodations and seeks unspecified damages.

Attorney Michael Hawkins is representing the YMCA. He says it is gathering facts before commenting.

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