TORONTO, Oct. 1 /CNW/ - A summer camp volunteer who served at an Ontario Pioneer Camp in Huntsville, Ontario was immediately removed from his position last summer after allegations of sexually inappropriate email communications, sent in the spring of 2009."
The volunteer, 32-year-old David Dewees, a teacher at Jarvis Collegiate Institute in Toronto, was formally charged today with two counts each of invitation to sexual touching and luring. The police reported today that to date there are no allegations of physical contact.
Geri Rodman, President of Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship (which owns and operates Ontario Pioneer Camp), says the allegations of sexual misconduct originated with two boys - fifteen and sixteen years old - who advised a camp leader (on August 17, 2009) that Dewees had been sending them sexually inappropriate email messages, in the spring of 2009. There were no allegations that any such activity happened at the camp, or during Mr. Dewees' tenure as a summer volunteer.
"Upon learning of the allegations, our camp leaders met with Mr. Dewees, advised him of the situation, terminated his services and escorted him off the property. We then notified the boys' families, along with local police and the Children's Aid. We have been cooperating with the authorities in their investigation of these allegations."
Rodman also said she has personally spoken with the families of the victims on behalf of Inter-Varsity. "We deeply regret that this has happened and extend our prayers to the boys and their families."
"Over its 80 year history, Ontario Pioneer Camp has always placed the safety of children as our highest priority," said Rodman. "We have very strict screening policies in place which includes doing a police check on any of our paid or volunteer staff who will be working with children. Those procedures were followed in this case."
Nevertheless, Inter-Varsity plans to retain an independent professional to review its screening policies and make recommendations as necessary. "We are committed to doing whatever we can to try to ensure the safety of all children in our care." said Rodman.
Inter-Varsity Pioneer Camps have hosted thousands of campers since the first camp was established in 1929. Inter-Varsity, a non-denominational Christian ministry works on over 60 Canadian university and college campuses, in addition to operating "Inter-Varsity Pioneer Camps" in six provinces. For more information on Inter-Varsity, please see www.ivcf.ca.
SOURCE INTER-VARSITY CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP (CANADA)
For further information: For further information: Geri Rodman, President, Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship (Canada), (416) 443-1170, ext 117, (416) 458-1398