Allegations of possible inappropriate contact involving a juvenile and children enrolled in the Carson City Parks and Recreation Summer Kamp program are under investigation by the Carson City District Attorney’s Office and the Carson City Sheriff’s Office.
The parks and recreation department sent an email to parents Thursday night notifying them of the situation.
The Carson City Sheriff’s Office is working through every allegation, though the exact number is unknown. Detectives, along with the District Attorney’s Office are conducting forensic interviews with the children who have come forward.
“Immediate action was taken to ensure the welfare and safety of the children,” said Sheriff Ken Furlong. “The city manager acted quickly and convened all agencies when they became aware in order to create a shared investigation plan with all the agencies and DA to coordinate a respectful and continued same dialogue and coordinated process in the investigation.”
The suspect is a male juvenile associated with the program, though his age was not released, City Manager Nick Marano said Friday.
“It is unfortunate that as law enforcement we can’t keep the public better informed of the status because it is an open investigation,” Furlong said. “We can only assure the public that every entity is working closely together so that no one is left in the dark.”
No arrests or charges have formally occurred.
Carson Parks and Recreation Director Jennifer Budge emailed parents Thursday night saying steps were taken to ensure all the children are safe and the involved individual doesn’t have access to any Parks and Recreation and city property, and has no access to any of the children at the camp.
Carson City’s Summer Kamp is a 10-week program held at the Mills Park complex. There are weekly field trips and separate programs for children in kindergarten through ninth grade. The program runs Monday to Friday, from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., until Aug. 17. The program uses 14- and 15 year-old volunteers.
“Our prime objective is to ensure the safety of the kids in the program, and we want the parents to know the city is doing absolutely everything we can to do that,” said Marano.
More than 200 parents were emailed, the known victims so far all came from the same age group, officials said, however, they still were investigating to make sure they don’t miss any possible victims.
The juvenile had only been associated with the camp for about a month and a half when the incident was reported. A child at the camp told a parent what happened.
Victim-Witness Advocate Frankee Haynes, with the District Attorney’s Office, and Budge hosted three victim impact panels at the Carson City Community Center on Friday to address the situation and answer any questions parents may have.
Parents were told the crimes only include inappropriate touching — not sexual assault — meaning there has been no evidence yet a child was penetrated by an object. However, parents were told the investigation is still early.
Carson City Parks & Recreation Department policy states no one is allowed to be alone with a child or group of children, that there always has to be two camp associates at a time. Parents were told the incidents occurred in populated areas.
Parents are advised to proceed with caution when questioning their children about the event, as saying the wrong thing can create emotional and mental damage on the child if not questioned properly. The lead detective in the case is certified in forensic interviewing with children.
“The process of investigating with children is a regular part of our training features and we elaborate on this with detectives to ensure people with the right qualifications and demeanor is assigned to the case,” Furlong said.
Detectives will most likely not speak with every child associated with the camp, but if needed, the parents will be directly contacted.
There may be signs that could signify a child is a victim. Things like withdrawal, if they aren’t acting the same, dietary changes, nightmares or night terrors, wearing extra clothing when unnecessary, early awakenings between 1 to 5 a.m., wetting the bed and erratic behavior. If a parent is concerned, officials asked them to inform authorities immediately.
Anyone concerned about their child, should contact Haynes at 775-887-2268. Haynes is working directly with the Sheriff’s Office and is passing the information to detectives.
The investigation is still ongoing, however no arrests have been made yet pending further investigation.