THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

Camp on Cape gets DA scrutiny

A 2d male says he was molested; Report follows Brown disclosure

By Sally Jacobs
Globe Staff / April 5, 2011

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Cape Cod prosecutors are examining a series of concerns raised about the Christian summer camp where US Senator Scott Brown says he was sexually abused as a child, including one report from a former camper who told his lawyer he was repeatedly molested there when he was 10 years old.

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who represents the former camper, referred the allegation to the Cape and Islands district attorney’s office yesterday. The office acknowledged that it has launched an investigation into the complaint by Garabedian’s client, but declined to specify the nature of the issue.

Garabedian says the employee who allegedly assaulted his client in the mid-1980s still works at Camp Good News, which is located in Sandwich.

In addition, First Assistant District Attorney Brian Glenny said that he has received several calls relating to other matters at the camp in the weeks since Brown disclosed in his autobiography that he had been abused. Glenny declined to specify whether the other calls related to allegations of sexual abuse but said that the office is looking into the issues raised by the callers.

The former camper’s allegation has been turned over to State Police detectives assigned to the district attorney’s office for investigation, Glenny said.

In his autobiography, “Against All Odds,’’ which was released in February, Brown describes in detail how he was sexually fondled by a male employee at his summer camp four decades ago.

The first-term Republican senator, 51, has not identified the camp or his abuser and has said he has no interest in pursuing a legal case against his abuser. Gail Gitcho, Brown’s director of communications, said yesterday that Brown does not wish to explore the matter further, saying: “He has made it clear that he does not have any scores to settle. This is part of his life, but it is not all of his life.’’

The operators of Camp Good News confirmed that Brown attended their camp and sent him a letter of apology at the time his book was published. Yesterday, the camp’s deputy director, Hope Willard Brooks, the daughter of its founder, said she was unaware of the new complaint and had not been contacted by the district attorney’s office. But she said she did not think it impossible that other campers might have been abused there in decades past.

“We are horrified and absolutely devastated that this would have happened at our wonderful camp,’’ Brooks said.

“But these things might have happened. These things have happened at many other places. In the ’70s and ’80s, things were so different. We did not spend so much time on these matters and talking to our staff and being so very careful as we are now.’’

Brooks said that when the camp’s operators learned of Brown’s disclosure, they were concerned that other victims might come forward.

Garabedian said other victims have indeed been emboldened by Brown’s revelation and have decided to pursue their attackers, although he said he is not aware of any other cases involving the camp.

“Senator Brown is a highly visible individual,’’ Garabedian said.

“By coming forward he has empowered victims and given hope to those who have suffered the evils of sexual abuse and made the world a safer place for children.’’

Garabedian said that the former camper was left deeply scarred by the abuse, which he said occurred repeatedly during the summer of 1985. Now 36 and living outside Boston, the camper approached Garabedian two weeks ago.

“It has been very painful for him,’’ said Garabedian.

Camp Good News had previously faced another allegation of sexual impropriety by one of its employees. In 2002, former Good News counselor Charles Lewis filed a report with the Sandwich police saying that he had repeatedly found child pornography on the computer of one of the camp’s other workers, according to Lewis.

Lewis, who worked at the camp from 1991 until 1999, said he had reported his finding to the camp’s former director, Faith Willard, but little came of it. When Sandwich police questioned Willard about the matter, according to Lewis, she told them that she had thrown away the disc on which the pornography had been stored. Lewis, now a divinity student living in Southern Indiana, said that the employee about whom he made his complaint continues to work at the camp.

Sandwich police did not return calls yesterday.

Brooks confirmed that the police investigated assertions in Lewis’s report, but she said that the matter was dropped. Lewis, she said, “told the police a lot of stuff that was untrue. He is the devil.’’

The camp’s operators have said in the past that they would not attempt to investigate Brown’s abuser unless the senator asked them to do so. But Brooks said yesterday that in light of the new report, they might reconsider their position.

Sally Jacobs can be reached at jacobs@globe.com.

Clarification: This story may have implied, in one reference, that Brown has identified the camp. As stated in another part of the story, Brown has not identified the camp; Camp Good News, in Sandwich, however, has acknowledged he was a camper there and issued an apology to the senator.