Terrorized Scouts Wait In Vain After Calling Officers For Help
OAK FOREST, Ill. (AP) _ Girl Scout leaders say they waited for police for an hour after reporting that 25 Scouts were being terrorized by drunken men threatening to assault them, and that the officers went to the wrong camp.
But police said Wednesday that the scout leader who called for help at a forest preserve in suburban Chicago early Sunday gave an emergency dispatcher the wrong campsite name.
The scouts, ages 9 to 12, and their leaders were staying in two houses at Camp Falcon in the forest preserve near Oak Forest when several young men drove up to the campsite.
The men began threatening the girls in one of the houses with sexual assault, the Chicago Tribune quoted the scout leaders as saying, without identifying them.
The incident lasted about 30 minutes, the scout leaders said.
″They went between the buildings, peering in the windows,″ one of the scout leaders said. ″Then they started beating on the screens and the back door.
″They were very specific about what they wanted to do to the girls and the leaders.″
The woman said the scout leaders told the girls: ″Don’t move, talk or scream. ... They felt their lives were in danger. They didn’t breathe.″
After the men appeared to have left, three adults crept to a nearby dining hall and called the 911 emergency number, the scout leaders said.
They said they called police again an hour later and eventually found officers at another camp about half a mile away.
However, Oak Forest Police Chief Dennis Chlebos said his officers and Cook County sheriff’s police went to the wrong location because scout leaders gave the wrong campsite name to the dispatcher.
He said a transcript of the recording of the scout leaders’ first call shows that they began by telling the dispatcher, ″OK, we’re at Camp Sullivan.″ That camp is near the preserve entrance.
The scout leaders said they told the dispatcher they were at the camp inside the forest preserve and not near the entrance, according to the Tribune. They also said they told the dispatcher they were at Camp Falcon in the second call.
But Chlebos said his department has no record of a second 911 call.
″We’re very glad no one was injured,″ Carol Kocan, spokeswoman for South Cook County Girl Scouts, said Wednesday. ″The people involved are following up their concern with appropriate agencies. These agencies apparently are looking into the matter and deciding how the situation can be improved.″
She would not divulge the names of any Scout leaders involved.
Sheriff’s police were investigating whether officers who responded to the first call were slow in arriving at the preserve and failed to investigate to find the right camp, said Lt. Roy Peters.