Author Topic: Manager of Camp Sequoia convicting of trying to hide possible abuse  (Read 7091 times)

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Ex Pennsburg camp director gets probation for not reporting alleged sex abuse
By Carl Hessler Jr., The Mercury, 05/08/15

norristown >> A former director of a Pennsburg camp for special needs children accused of failing to report to authorities a suspected case of child sexual abuse by two juveniles at the camp has been accepted into a special probationary program that will allow him to clear his record.

Ryan I. Wexelblatt, 43, of the 1000 block of Montgomery Avenue, Narberth, must complete two years’ probation and 60 hours of community service, according to an order signed by Montgomery County Senior Court Judge S. Gerald Corso, who accepted Wexelblatt into the county’s Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program on charges of persons required to report suspected child abuse, unsworn falsification to authorities and obstructing administration of law or other governmental function.

The ARD program is reserved for first-time offenders of non-violent crimes. Acceptance into the ARD program is not an admission of guilt.

Wexelblatt can clear, or expunge, his record after he successfully completes the program’s requirements. Wexelblatt, formerly of the 200 block of Williams Avenue, Narberth, must comply with any conditions of supervision imposed by the county’s adult probation department, the judge said.

The charges were lodged against Wexelblatt in July 2013 in connection with alleged incidents that occurred at Camp Sequoia in the 200 block Seminary Street in Pennsburg between July 4 and 8. Wexelblatt stepped down as camp director when the charges were filed.

Camp Sequoia offered a six-week summer program for special needs children with poor social skills and children from throughout the country attended the camp, authorities said.

Under state law, Wexelblatt, as a child care worker, had a mandatory responsibility to report alleged sex assaults of children to law enforcement or to child protective services.

On July 7, the Upper Perkiomen Police District received information from the Crime Stoppers internet tip line alleging that a juvenile had been sexually assaulted by two other juveniles while in his dorm room at the summer camp. The anonymous tipster further alleged Wexelblatt, the director of the camp, did not report the assault to the proper authorities or the alleged victim’s parents.

When detectives attempted to interview the juvenile victim on July 8, Wexelblatt “told the authorities that they would not be permitted to talk with the victim,” according to the arrest affidavit filed by county Detective Drew Marino and Upper Perkiomen Detective Matthew Boaman. After confronting Wexelblatt with the seriousness of the allegations Wexelblatt did allow the alleged juvenile victim to be interviewed, court papers indicate.

The investigation revealed that during the overnight hours of July 4 into July 5 the juvenile victim disclosed to camp counselors that he had been sexually assaulted while in his room that night. Those counselors immediately went up the chain of command, notifying the most senior counselor who, in turn, reported it to Wexelblatt early in the morning on July 5, according to court documents.

The investigation revealed Wexelblatt briefly interviewed all of the juveniles involved in the assault, court papers indicate. Wexelblatt, according to court papers, allegedly described the incident as “a serious prank.”

Wexelblatt allegedly told a camp counselor to get the two juveniles who allegedly assaulted the victim “out of the camp” and never discussed calling the police with the counselor, according to the criminal complaint. Two counselors then drove the two boys, who lived in Chicago and Florida, to the Philadelphia International Airport where the boys boarded planes and headed home, authorities alleged.

“(A counselor) said that Wexelblatt had the two boys out of camp mere hours after the incident was reported to him,” Marino and Boaman alleged.

“He chose to ignore and hide the facts provided to him. He also made the task of investigating the crime more difficult or impossible for the police by flying the juveniles of interest home. He also impeded the initial investigation by denying police access to the victim,” Marino and Boaman alleged.