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Judge Rules Lawsuit Against Pike County Summer Camp Can Proceed

December 29, 2018

A New Jersey man who alleges he was sexually abused as a child during a camping trip can proceed with a lawsuit against the Pike County summer camp that sponsored the excursion, a federal judge ruled. U.S. Magistrate Judge Martin C. Carlson said the man presented sufficient evidence to let a jury decide whether Shohola Campground and Resort in Greeley was negligent for failing to protect him from an assault by a fellow camper during a trip to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in 2008. The man, who is identified only by his initials, was 11 when he says a 13-year-old camper abused him. He did not come forward with the allegations until 2016. Attorneys for the camp sought dismissal of the suit, arguing the camp could not be held liable for the man’s injuries because it had no way to know the fellow camper posed a threat. In rejecting the argument, Carlson acknowledged there was no specific evidence the camp knew the accused camper was dangerous. He said Shohola could still be held responsible because camp employees acknowledged they knew young boys are “sexually curious,” therefore the camp had an obligation to ensure campers were supervised to reduce the likelihood abuse could occur. Carlson did dismiss several other counts, including negligent supervision, which alleged the camp should have known its counselors were careless or incompetent. Carlson said that, while the harm to the victim was foreseeable in a general sense, there was no evidence of any incidents in the counselors’ pasts that made it negligent for Shohola to hire them. Contact the writer: tbesecker@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9137; @tmbeseckerTT on Twitter

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