A man has been arrested and charged with “several felonies” after police said he molested multiple children under the age of 12 at an Atlanta summer camp.
Atlanta Police Lt. Felicia Claxton, commander of the department’s special victims unit, said in a press conference Friday that the alleged abuse took place between 2016 and 2018 while children were attending a camp at the West End Family Life and Community Center.
“This case is heartbreaking because the people entrusted to protect children, our most vulnerable population, violated their trust and harmed innocent children,” she said.
Authorities began investigating the allegations this year after a parent reported the incidents to Atlanta police. A police report obtained by NBC affiliate WXIA shows that at least one victim was a girl under the age of 10 who told her mother she was molested by a man in his 50s at the summer camp. Claxton did not specify the total number of victims identified.
She said the man arrested worked at the camp where the alleged abuse took place, but did not release his identity “due to the sensitivity of the investigation and in order to maintain the integrity of the investigation.” Claxton also declined to release details about his charges.
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Authorities hope they’ve released enough information to encourage more possible victims or witnesses to come forward as they continue investigating, she said.
The Atlanta case comes on the heels of New York authorities announcing charges against an elementary school principal accused of sexually abusing at least nine boys during school hours. Kirk Ashton, principal of Northwood Elementary School in Hilton, about 20 miles northwest of Rochester, is charged with multiple counts of first-degree sex abuse, second-degree sexual conduct against a child and endangering the welfare of a child, Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley announced at a Thursday press conference.
Ashton was taken into custody Wednesday night and remained detained as of Saturday morning, according to inmate records. He pleaded not guilty to the charges against him in Greece Town Court, and bail was set at $500,000 cash or $1 million bond.