Family says 8-year-old girl was sexually abused at Carmel summer camp

CARMEL, Ind. – The family of an 8-year-old girl plans to file a lawsuit against the City of Carmel, accusing camp workers of failing to protect the girl from sexual abuse from another child at the camp.

Attorney Tim Stoesz filed a tort claim August 8 on behalf of the little girl’s mother, informing city officials of their plans to file a lawsuit.

The tort claim says “over a period of several weeks, the minor child was subjected to physical, mental and sexual assaults by another child while both children were under the care and supervision of the City of Carmel, Carmel Parks and Recreation Department.”

The alleged abuse happened during a summer camp that began May 30 at Creekside Middle School.

“Over the course of the summer, the little girl had made comments to her mom about some things were happening at camp,” Stoesz said.

The 8-year-old girl told her mother that a 7-year-old girl followed her into a bathroom, locked the door and barricaded the door with her body.

“There was allegations of touching, allegations of pants being pulled down, allegations of forced behavior,” Stoesz said.

Stoesz says the 8-year-old’s mother contacted camp workers several times about concerning behavior described by her daughter. But, he says, camp workers didn’t follow protocols to handle the behavior or take steps to keep it from happening again.

“I think they failed to properly supervise the children and allowed incidents to continue to happen after they had been given notice that something was happening,” Stoesz said. “I don’t want to characterize it as a cover-up, but I don’t think that the proper write-ups were done.”

A Carmel Police report obtained by our news gathering partners at the Indy Star says the camp contacted them about the matter July 6, and the case was closed six days later after police found no violation of criminal law. The Department of Child Services also conducted an investigation into the case, Stoesz said.

Although no criminal allegations are being made, Stoesz says camp workers should have acted to prevent repeated incidents of abuse after being warned about the behavior. He said it’s possible other children could be involved.

The mother of the 8-year-old girl released a statement that says, in part:

“After learning what happened to my daughter, I contacted the Office of the Mayor of Carmel and spoke with his staff on multiple occasions. I was never contacted by the Mayor or anyone from his office about my concerns. The trauma that my daughter experienced this summer has become a force of its own. Every aspect of her life and our family life has been altered. Someone needs to answer to these atrocities and make sure that no other child and family have to go through what we are enduring”

The alleged victim’s mother is seeking the maximum $700,000 in damages per incident. The filing of the tort claim means the family can file the lawsuit after 90 days, or after the city files and response to the claim.

Carmel officials said it is their policy to not comment on pending litigation.

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