17-Year-Old Charged with Sexual Assault at Burlington Special Needs Camp

BURLINGTON, N.C. -- Police are investigating an alleged sexual assault at a summer camp for special needs children in Burlington on Monday. 

Police say the assault possibly happened in a bathroom/locker room at North Park Pool. The camp involved is called Camp Green Leaves. It is operated by the city. 

The 17-year-old is accused of having sexual contact with another camp participant in the locker room. Police say both individuals were participating in a summer program and say the pool was closed to the public at the time.  
 
He is facing charges of first degree statutory sex offense and indecent liberties with a minor. 
 
According to Rachel Kelly with the City of Burlington, this isn't the first time that an alleged sexual assault has been reported from the same camp.

In 2012, Burlington Police were called out to investigate a reported sexual assault involving two campers at Camp Green Leaves.

Because the case involved minors, officials couldn't give names of those involved or location of the alleged incident.

No charges were filed.

However, following that incident, the City of Burlington met with officials from Disability Rights of North Carolina to review camp safety policies.

Rules and guidelines pertaining to supervision were made into a more clearly defined policy.

One of the updated policies was that campers could not go to restrooms unsupervised.

If the bathroom has a single stall, counselors are to escort campers to the facility and wait outside.

If the bathroom has multiple stalls, counselors are to wait in facility.

After the 2012 incident, the camp also implemented a rigorous staff review of policy prior to each camp session.

Now, counselors have to sign written certifications that they understand the policies before camp begins.

Now, Kelly says the city plans to review those policies again after the investigation into Monday's alleged assault is completed.

"It's a great responsibility to care for children,” said Kelly. “Anytime we have issues with the program regarding children or not, we're going to take this seriously. We're going to identify what went wrong administratively and work to prevent in the future.”

Officials would not comment on whether the policies were violated on this particular case.

The incident is still under investigation.

Counselors were available Tuesday to answer any questions parents might have. 

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