Former Camp Good News counselor arraigned on child rape charges

Richard P. Smith was arraigned in Barnstable Superior Court on Monday
The investigation into alleged sexual abuse at Camp Good News in Sandwich continues with the indictment and arraignment of a former counselor. Photo by David G. Curran.

Cape & Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe's Office announced an indictment in the ongoing Camp Good News investigation. According to the DA's office, 65-year-old Richard P. Smith of Media, Pennsylvania was indicted by a Barnstable County Grand Jury and arraigned Monday before Superior Court Judge Cornelius J. Moriarty II on charges of rape of a child, indecent assault and battery and five counts of indecent assault and battery upon a child under the age of fourteen.

The allegations against Smith stem from incidents that reportedly occurred in 1981 when he was a counselor at Cape Good News in Sandwich. According to a release from the DA's office, four campers between 11 and 15 were alleged to have been assaulted by Smith.

The judge ordered Smith held on $10,000 cash bail/$100,000 surety bail. He is due back in court on May 8, 2013.

State Police detectives assigned to the Cape and Island's DA's Office have been investigating allegations of sexual assault at the Christian camp for nearly two and a half years. Nine possible suspects have been investigated including Smith. The identity of some of the suspects are unknown, two are deceased and several have escaped possible prosecution due to expired statute of limitations. The investigation involves eight states and one foreign country according to the DA's Office.

Rumors and accusations began swirling around the summer camp shortly after the release of Senator Scott Brown's autobiography "Against All Odds" in February 2011 in which he recounts being molested at a summer camp in Sandwich in his youth. Brown didn't directly point the finger at Cape Good News, but it wasn't long before the media and former fellow campers put two and two together.

Following Brown's allegations of sexual abuse at the camp in the 70s, more than a dozen other alleged victims came forward.

In April 2011, Charles R. Devita, who worked at the camp and was a counselor in the 80s, died on the property of a self-inflicted gunshot wound shortly after a victim came forward alleging sexual abuse at the camp in 1985. Police later confirmed that Devita was the subject of an investigation.

Closed following Devita's death in 2011, the camp is once again operational and accepting reservations for summer 2013. In 2011, a Camp Good News newsletter read, "until recently, Cape Good News has enjoyed an excellent reputation. Our deepest hope and full intent is to continue the good work done here and rededicate ourselves to protecting and enriching children....For the first time in 76 years, Good News chose to take a year off to examine its policies and enlist a number of new agencies to improve and maintain our program."


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