Suffolk police have charged a counselor for Kenwal Day Camp in Melville who they said inappropriately touched and spoke with underage campers last summer and distributed indecent material to them.
The counselor, Jay Marcello, 25, of Sherry Avenue in Wantagh, was stopped and taken into custody Monday morning as he drove to the Nassau County BOCES Rosemary Kennedy Center in Wantagh where he is a teaching assistant, police said.
Marcello is charged with eight counts of endangering the welfare of a child, two counts of third-degree sex abuse, and one count of first-degree disseminating indecent material to minors, a felony.
It was unclear whether Marcello had an attorney but he was being held overnight at the Second Precinct and is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in First District Court in Central Islip.
“As we come to grips with this shocking and distressing news, we are working closely with local law enforcement to find out additional details and aid their efforts in any way possible,” Kenwal officials said in a statement. “We also will be conducting our own internal investigation to discover more details of what happened, and offering any support we can to the victims and their families.”
The statement continued: “We had no reason to believe, nor were we made aware of any problem with the person in question, and all our staff are carefully screened by every acceptable method available to us. The health and safety of our campers are our top priority.”
Suffolk detectives said Marcello had inappropriate conversations with campers of various ages and inappropriately touched 14-year-old campers between July and August 2016. He has worked at the Drexel Avenue summer camp for the past seven years, police said.
The investigation of Marcello stems from an indictment in October 2016 of Keith Meyn of Oakdale, another employee of Kenwal, who was indicted on charges of first-degree criminal sexual act, use of a child in a sexual performance as a sexually motivated felony, first-degree sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child, and 100 counts of possessing a sexual performance by a child.
Police said there may be additional victims and urged anyone who may have information about the case or possible victims to call the Computer Crimes Unit at 631-852-6279.