Christian day camp in Somerset County sued over sexual assault
Officials at a Christian-themed day camp in Somerset County allowed a counselor with a history of sexual abuse to continue his criminal conduct, a victim claimed more than a decade later in a civil lawsuit filed by her lawyers.
The woman, identified as “Jane Doe” in court documents, claims that officials at Summer’s Best Two Weeks in Boswell knew that camp counselor Eric DeVries “openly exhibited the common behaviors of a sexual predator” because of at least one formal complaint in 2001, but still allowed him to work there until police arrested him in 2005.
DeVries could not be reached for comment.
According to the lawsuit filed Friday in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court, DeVriesbegan “to psychologically and spiritually manipulate and groom” the girl after he took a job as director of student ministries at Vienna Presbyterian Church in Virginia, where authorities charged him with sexually assaulting other underage girls.
When he worked at Summer’s Best Two Weeks between 2002 and 2005, camp officials “put no restrictions on DeVries and did not monitor his behavior.” That’s when, according to the lawsuit, he “took advantage of this lack of oversight and engaged Jane Doe in sexual contact with her while at the camp.”
Several attempts to reach camp officials by phone and email were not returned.
DeVries pleaded guilty in 2006 to taking indecent liberties with a minor, and a judge sentenced him to 12 months in jail.
Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.