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Tuesday, 27 May 2014 11:24

Summerfield boys camp under state investigation

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Allegations of sexual misconduct by a camper leveled against Ohio Wilderness Boys Camp

SUMMERFIELD, Ohio -- State authorities are investigating allegations of sexual misconduct at a Summerfield boys camp.

The multi-agency investigation into the Ohio Wilderness Boys Camp began two weeks ago when a former camper made a complaint against another juvenile with the Coshocton County Sheriff's Office. In response, the Noble and Monroe County Sheriff's Offices responded to the camp on the evening of May 14 and removed all 16 campers from the premises. With the help of local child welfare agencies, all the boys were temporarily housed at the Woodsfield Nazarene Church until their guardians could be reached.

Joe Thompson, director of the Ohio Wilderness Camp, told AVC News in a prepared statement that "it is not impossible for boys to behave inappropriately with one another without staff having knowledge of these actions." He added that, "based on our reporting and the subsequent investigations, county and state agencies are thoroughly investigating OWBC."

Because the campground lies on both sides of the Noble/Monroe County line, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation has been called in to lead the joint investigation

This marks the second time in as many years that the Ohio Wilderness Boys Camp has been under scrutiny following claims of sexual misconduct. In September 2012, the resulting investigation also found that the camp was out of compliance with the state's laws on proper licensure.

Z. Daniel Barnett

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