August 19th, 2012
12:00 PM ET

Boy 'glad' he spoke out after hearing racial slurs at Pennsylvania swim club

By Ross Levitt and Susan Candiotti, CNN

(CNN) - Tears streamed down 12-year-old Marcus Allen's face in 2009, as he recalled how members of a private suburban Philadelphia swim club had hurled racial slurs and worried aloud if he and other mostly minority day campers might steal from them.

Today, Marcus is just about to turn 15 and hit the gridiron as a running back on his high school football team. He has grown up in more ways than one - including having experienced discrimination firsthand and seen the U.S. justice system in action, its pursuit of justice driven in large part by his and other adolescents' accounts of what they had seen and heard that summer.

"I'm glad that people saw and felt what I felt," Marcus, who is black, told CNN.

The U.S. Justice Department announced Thursday that it and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission reached a settlement with the now-defunct Valley Club of Huntingdon Valley, two and a half years after filing a lawsuit against the club.

Under terms of the deal, the club - which filed for bankruptcy in November 2009 a few months after the incident and had its property sold for $1.46 million the following June - agreed to payouts to more than 50 children like Marcus who were part of the Creative Steps Day Care Center, their counselors and Creative Steps. The distributed money includes whatever "remaining assets" from the club's property sale are left over, with $65,000 set aside to create a diversity council made up of former Valley Club members, Creative Steps counselors, campers and their families to promote community healing, the U.S. Justice Department said.

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