Suffolk County Crime Stoppers released video footage from Splish Splash Water Park in Calverton on Aug. 21. Suffolk County Crime Stoppers and Riverhead Town Police detectives are seeking the public’s help to identify a group of people wanted in connection with a forcible touching investigation at the water park. Credit: SCPD

Police are seeking the public's help in identifying eight men and one woman wanted for questioning in connection with the alleged forcible touching of young girls at the Splish Splash water park in Calverton, authorities said Wednesday.

Riverhead police said “a group of males subjected female juveniles to unwanted physical contact” in the wave pool about 4:30 p.m. Aug. 21. Video footage released Wednesday shows security ushering the group through park gates just before 5 p.m.

Police ask anyone with information to call Suffolk County Crime Stoppers at 800-220-TIPS.

Splish Splash's general manager Michael Bengtson said the video is from the park and that it was turned over to police the same day the incident was reported by a girl who was visiting the park with a Huntington YMCA camp. Since then, three other girls with the camp have told police they were also groped. 

The mothers of three of the girls, who spoke to Newsday this week under condition of anonymity so their daughters would not be identified, have criticized park officials for letting the suspects leave the park without calling police and not taking their names. They accused the park of failing to protect their daughters, ages 11, 12 and 13.

In response, Splish Splash on Wednesday released a detailed defense that said security offered to call police but the girl's camp counselor rejected the suggestion at least twice. 

Park officials, who maintained they acted responsibly, said security personnel arrived within minutes to interview the girl.

The mothers of three girls said their daughters were in...

The mothers of three girls said their daughters were in the wave pool at Splish Splash in Calverton on Aug. 21 when unidentified men groped them. Above, the park is seen on April 1, 2017. Credit: Splish Splash Waterpark

"The girl claimed that she was inappropriately touched by a group who were playing with a soccer ball but did not see anyone’s face to identify them," the park statement read. "The girl was also unable to relay any information about how she was inappropriately touched."

Security asked the girl's counselor if she wanted police to be called, the statement says. But, park officials said, "The YMCA counselor declined. She also stated that the parents didn’t need to be called because they were leaving the park soon."

A YMCA spokeswoman on Wednesday did not address the details of the park's account, including whether the camp counselor refused the offer to call police.

"The YMCA of Long Island is dedicated to protecting all youth under its care," spokeswoman Tamar Simpson said in a statement. "Our foremost priority remains to protect the campers involved in this incident and work with law enforcement to ensure this situation is properly handled." 

According to park officials, a group matching the girl's "limited description" was spotted nearby, and security officers questioned them.

"The YMCA counselor again emphasized that she did not want police called and that they would be unable to positively identify the group," the park's release said.

Security then escorted the group out of the park at the camp counselor's request, the park's statement says.

The parent of one girl called Riverhead police at 6 p.m. that day to report the incident while the parents of three other girls came forward later to report similar allegations, Riverhead police Chief David Hegermiller has said.

The families' attorney, Chris Cassar of Huntington, said the girls were able to identify at least two of the men. He said even if the camp counselor did not want police called, the park had a legal duty to call because minors were involved.

"I think Splish Splash is shifting blame," Cassar said. 

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