FAIRLEE, Vt. — A foundation that runs summer camps for boys and girls on Vermont’s Lake Morey says a former staff member “inappropriately touched” at least two campers in the 1980s, and officials are now urging other potential victims to come forward.
In a letter sent this month to at least 10,000 parents, former campers and others, the Aloha Foundation said the cases were brought to their attention last fall by another former staff member who did not feel the original investigation was adequate.
“We believe every member of The Aloha Foundation family deserves to know us as a safe place and trustworthy organization,” said the letter. “We want to assure you that we have availed ourselves of all possible resources — including the lessons we might learn from our history.”
The Valley News reported that the Fairlee-based foundation oversees several camp programs, including Lanakila for 8- to 14-year-old boys and Aloha for 12- to 17-year-old girls on Lake Morey, and Aloha Hive for 7- to 12-year-old girls on Lake Fairlee.
The former counselor at Camp Lanakila was fired after inappropriately touching one boy in 1983. After counseling, he was allowed to return to the camp but was permanently barred after touching another camper in 1987.
After hearing the former staff member’s concerns, the foundation hired former New Hampshire Attorney General Michael Delaney to investigate. His investigation determined the allegations against the former counselor, now in his 80s, were true and the foundation’s response was inadequate.
The results of the investigation were turned over to the local police department. Fairlee police referred questions to the Orange County sheriff’s department. Sheriff Bill Bohnyak did not return a call Friday seeking comment.
Aloha Foundation Executive Director Christopher Overtree said the camp’s policies to protect children are “continually updated” and were strengthened in the early 1990s.
“At the moment, what’s clear to us is that we need to continue our constant vigilance about our policies, but also our training and our supervision,” Overtree told the newspaper.
Information from: Lebanon Valley News, http://www.vnews.com