A special needs camper, attending Camp Sequoia on the Perkiomen School campus in Pennsburg, was the victim of a sexual assault in early July and authorities said the man in charge of that camp not only failed to report it to police, but obstructed their investigation.
The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office and Upper Perk Police arrested Ryan Wexelblatt, 41, of Narberth, Tuesday. Wexelblatt, the director of the overnight camp for boys ages 8-17 with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), was charged with failing to report suspected child abuse, unsworn falsification to authorities and obstructing law enforcement.
According to an arrest affidavit filed by Upper Perk Police Det. R. Matthew Boaman, police got an anonymous tip through Crime Stoppers online that alleged a juvenile had been sexually assaulted by two other juveniles at a summer camp in Pennsburg. The tip also stated the camp director failed to report the crime.
Authorities said they attempted to interview the juvenile victim July 8 but Wexelblatt told police they couldn’t talk to the boy. After talking further with police, authorities said Wexelblatt did allow them to finally interview the victim.
Police, who entered into a joint investigation with the Montgomery County Detective Bureau, said the victim told police he was sleeping in his Ruhl Hall dorm room on July 4 around midnight when he was sexually assaulted. His roommate and another camper were in the room at the time of the crime, police said.
Authorities said the boy immediately told a counselor, who then went up the chain of command to a senior counselor, who reported it to Wexelblatt during the early morning hours of July 5, first through a text message and then a phone call.
Court documents stated once Wexelblatt learned the details of the assault, he instructed the senior counselor to get both alleged perpetrators out of camp. He never discussed calling police, authorities said.
Authorities said Wexelblatt later interviewed each of the three boys for less than five minutes about the assault, talking to the victim last.
When asked by authorities later why he didn’t talk to the victim first, Wexelblatt said, “no particular reason,” court papers said.
The perpetrators were reportedly driven to the Philadelphia Airport by camp staff where they boarded planes to their homes in Chicago and Florida around 11:30 a.m. July 5.
Wexelblatt allegedly told police the victim didn’t tell him vital information about the sexual assault, only about inappropriate contact, and that his senior counselor also didn’t give him that information.
He denied knowing about the sexual assault allegation, saying he first heard about the allegations from police July 8, authorities said.
He reportedly never called the victim’s parents and instead e-mailed the victim’s mother, leaving out details of the assault.
Wexelblatt was arraigned by Judge Catherine Hummel-Fried of Red Hill District Court Tuesday and bail was set at $20,000. He is scheduled to appear in Red Hill for a preliminary hearing Sept. 12 at 10 a.m.
Deputy District Attorney Samantha Cauffman will prosecute the case.
Camp Sequoia is not affiliated with The Perkiomen School, said Headmaster Christopher R. Tompkins Wednesday. The organization rented space from the school for its program for the first time this year.
Tompkins said the school has cooperated fully with law enforcement on the case.