Camp Counselor Who Shot Himself Was Target of Sex Abuse Probe

Photo: Ambulance outside Camp Good News
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A long-time camp counselor who allegedly molested youngsters at a summer camp that U.S. Sen. Scott Brown attended shot himself to death on the camp grounds this morning.

The man committed suicide a day after police began an investigation into claims that he molested a boy at the camp in 1985. The boy, who is now 35, said he was inspired to come forward with allegation because Sen. Brown had revealed in a biography that he was molested as boy at summer camp.

Investigators have not released the dead man's name, but Mitchell Garabedian, the accuser's attorney, confirmed to ABC News that the suicide victim is Charles R. Devita.

Devita worked as a counselor and assistant director at the camp for several decades. He was found dead in his vehicle in a wooded area of Camp Good News in Sandwich, Mass., according to the Cape and Islands District Attorney's office. Police are ruling it a suicide.

"My client is saddened by the circumstances," said Garabedian. "He wanted to face the alleged perpetrator at a criminal trial."

Brown, a Republican, revealed earlier this year that he was abused at summer camp when he was a boy, but never identified the camp. It was later determined that Brown attended Camp Good News and the camp wrote the senator a letter of apology. Brown wrote about the abuse in a book entitled "Against All Odds."

Brown's spokeswoman Gail Gitcho released a statement saying, "Senator Brown is aware of the reported suicide at Camp Good News, but he wants to emphasize that he does not know the deceased and has never met him."

Camp Good News also issued a statement saying, "The Camp Good News family is deeply saddened by the loss of our long time employee. Our heartfelt prayers are with Chuck's family."

Massachusetts State Police launched an investigation on Monday after Garabedian notified them of the alleged abuse in a faxed letter. Garabedian said he received a prompt reply from investigators stating they would be looking into the case.

Today, following news of Devita's death, Garabedian said he received two phone calls from adult men who said they had also been abused at the camp by the same individual. His current client contacted him two and a half weeks ago. The 35-year-old single man, who does not want to be identified, said he was abused at the camp in 1985 when he was 10.

"There were red flags," Garabedian said. "The questions remain: What did the supervisors know? When did they know? And what did they do it about it?"

A former camp employee, Charles Lewis, told ABC that he notified camp administrators in the late 1990s that Devita had child pornography on his computer, but they did nothing about it. He said he then contacted the police in 2002 and told them the same story, but is unclear what became of the allegations.

"I know of two children personally who said that (Devita) abused them," Lewis said. He declined to elaborate.

Prosecutor Was Looking Into Abuse Allegations at Camp Good News

Garabedian said he may consider filing a civil suit against Camp Good News, a Christian summer camp. He said it would entail taking depositions and finding out what the supervisers knew. "Children need to be protected," he said.

The DA launched an investigation Monday into allegations that the former 10-year-old camper was molested by an employee who was still employed at the camp.

Garabedian said earlier this week that his client "was inspired to come forward because Scott Brown came forward. He felt empowered."

A Massachusetts state trooper called Garabedian's office Tuesday looking to get in touch with the victim. Garabedian said that his client would "fully cooperate" with any investigation because "he wants to make the world a safer place for children."

"He is in a lot of emotional pain, but now that he has come forward my client feels as though a great weight has been lifted," Garabedian said.

Barnstable County's First Assistant District Attorney Brian Glenny confirmed Tuesday that his office is looking into the matter and said that his office can pursue even very old cases under the right circumstances. "You never know, there may have been a witness, or at least somebody who can confirm some of what happened. It doesn't have to be a videotape of the event," said Glenny.

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