JCC camp counselor accused of child porn released on bond
Menu JTA Search

JCC camp counselor accused of child porn released on bond

(JTA) — A counselor at a Michigan Jewish day camp who is accused of distributing child pornography has been released on $10,000 bond as he awaits trial.

Matthew Kuppe, 21, who was arrested in August, is not dangerous and deserves to be presumed innocent, a federal judge said Tuesday, the Detroit Free Press reported.

In issuing the order to release Kuppe, U.S. District Judge Avern Cohen said, “Pretrial release is the norm, not the exception.”

Under the terms of his bond, Kuppe was released into home detention, with a responsible adult present at all times, WXYZ-TV reported. Also, he was put on a GPS tether and his travel was restricted. Kuppe may not have contact with anyone under the age of 18 and cannot use the Internet.

Kuppe, a former counselor at the Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit day camp and student at Michigan State University, allegedly took nude pictures of three 5-year-old boys in the JCC locker room and posted the photos, along with other child porn, on a Russian website.

In his ruling, Cohn said the charges against Kuppe are “extremely serious,” but not violent. He said the children photographed “were not engaged with other persons and … did not know they were being photographed.”

Kuppe’s arrest came in response to a Department of Homeland Security investigation.

Although the assistant U.S. attorney argued against Kuppe’s release, Cohn said psychologists who examined him concluded it was unlikely he would pose a threat. In addition, he said, Kuppe’s “universe has been completely upended since his arrest. The same goes for his parents.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Woodward, saying she has “a duty to the victims in this case,” urged Cohn in court not to release Kuppe, arguing there is no condition that could guarantee Kuppe would not harm the community. Cohn, however, sided with the defense, which argued that the government was creating a “scare scenario.”

If convicted, Kuppe, who worked at the JCC day camp for two summers, faces up to 30 years in prison.