Former YMCA Camp Fitch employee charged with possession of child pornography

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ERIE, Penn. — A former employee of the YMCA’s Camp Fitch in Pennsylvania has been charged with possession of child pornography.

According to court documents, Matthew Poese knowingly possessed and accessed images of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct between November 2018 and June 2019 by means of a cell phone.

Thomas Gacse, President and CEO of YMCA of Youngstown released the following statement regarding the incident:

“At Camp Fitch, the safety and wellbeing of children in our care always has been and always will be a top priority.

We are aware of the charge against Matt Poese and are deeply disturbed and saddened by his alleged actions.

As soon as we learned of this investigation, we suspended his employment and banned him from all our properties. His employment has since been terminated. His last day at Camp was June 19th.

We fully supported the FBI during its investigation. The charge does not allege any misconduct or inappropriate activity by Mr. Poese with any Camp Fitch camper.

We take our responsibility to children and their families very seriously. We have a series of measures in place to keep kids safe, including thorough background checks on all employees and required staff training on recognizing and preventing child abuse. We also work with Praesidium, renowned authorities and institutional consultants, focused solely on the elimination of child abuse within organizations.

All pre-employment checks conducted on Mr. Poese came back clean – he had no previous record or any other cause for concern in his background, nor has he had any disciplinary issues during his tenure with Camp Fitch.”

Poese’s waiver and plea hearing is set for August 12 at the U.S. District Courthouse in Erie, Pennsylvania.

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