Students from George G. Dodge Intermediate School who went to Camp Fitch in North Springfield, Pennsylvania, are not believed to have been impacted by a former executive director at the camp, who was arrested and charged with having explicit content involving minors, according to Twinsburg City School Superintendent Kathryn Powers.
"For many years, our students from George G. Dodge Intermediate School have attended Camp Fitch in the spring of their sixth grade year," said Powers in a July 19 email to the district’s parents. "Earlier today. I was made aware of a situation involving former YMCA Camp Fitch Director Matthew Poese."
Powers shared a statement from Thomas M. Gacse, president and CEO of the YMCA of Youngstown, who stated in a letter to parents that Poese’s charge "does not involve any of our campers, nor do we have any evidence that he acted inappropriately with any campers in our care."
According to court records from the U.S. District Courthouse in Erie, Penn., Poese was charged with one count of possession of material depicting the sexual exploitation of a minor, a felony. A waiver and plea hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 12 before Judge David S. Cercone.
Gacse said Poese was suspended as soon as the YMCA learned of the investigation, and he has since been terminated.
"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," Gacse stated.
Powers stated in her email to parents that she would "provide updates regarding this matter, as necessary."
"I am grateful that the report I received from the YMCA of Youngstown indicates that Camp Fitch campers were not involved in the incident under investigation," Powers said. "As always, the safety and security of our students is our priority."
Reporter April Helms can be reached at 330-541-9423, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @AprilKHelms_RPC