VERMILLION, OHIO - A camp counselor is charged with felony sexual battery after police said he molested a 16-year-old boy during a Christian youth retreat Friday.
The suspect, Justin James, 20, of Columbus, was with a church group that rented facilities at Beulah Beach for a week-long retreat when the alleged molestation took place, according to the Erie County Sheriff’s Department.
"He's a person who is trusted. He's there to care for the kids," said Chief Deputy Jared Oliver.
"It's terrible, I mean we are so distressed and saddened by all of this," said Beulah Beach Executive Director Ralph Trainer.
"This incident just had nothing to do, apart from the fact this was a rental group at Beulah Beach, it did not involve a Beulah Beach camper, it did not involve a Beulah Beach counselor, or program or any employee of Beulah Beach," Trainer said.
James was with the Judah Christian Community Church in Columbus, according to the police report.
The teen was sleeping when James sexually assaulted him, twice, according to the police report.
The victim told police he heard James say 'forgive me for what I am about to do' before the molestation began, according to the report.
Deputies said the victim told other church staff and they called police.
"We brought him in for an interview he admitted he engaged in sexual contact with the camper the night before," Oliver said.
"Whenever a child is on harm’s way our prayers are with all those involved," Trainer said.