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Poconos camp counselor charged with indecent assault

NEW YORK (JTA) — A counselor at a Jewish summer camp for boys in Pennsylvania was taken into custody after a camper accused him of inappropriately touching him, police said.

Camp Dora Golding counselor Chisdai Ben-Porat, 19, of Ottawa, Canada, was charged with indecent assault of someone under 13 years old, unlawful contact with a minor and corruption of a minor at the camp, The Morning Call newspaper in Pennsylvania reported.

State police were called to the Orthodox Jewish camp in the Pocono Mountains on July 11 to investigate the camper’s report. The Monroe County District Attorney’s Office approved the charges, according to police.

Ben-Porat was arraigned on July 12 by District Judge Thomas Olsen and taken to Monroe County Prison. He was released later on $20,000 bail.

According to an email sent to parents by the camp’s executive director, Alex Gold, the counselor was arrested within hours after the camper reported the alleged incident. He said the camp’s staff is cooperating with authorities in the investigation, and making mental health professionals and social workers available to campers, counselors and parents.

“For more than a decade, (even before recently publicized stories of abuse in the Orthodox community), our staff orientation included specific training to deal with improper contact and conduct between staff and campers,” Gold said in the email. “We have a zero tolerance policy towards any improper behavior and, as demonstrated by recent events, are ready to follow through whenever necessary.  I am proud of my staff, which acted quickly, properly and responsibly.”

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