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Camp Good News Suicide: Mother had warned camp about accused pedophile.

 
 
Miller
 
Fri 8 Apr, 2011 06:34 am
Camp suicide shocker
Mom: I feared he was molester
By O’ryan Johnson, Dave Wedge and Chris Cassidy | Thursday, April 7, 2011


The mother of the Christian camp worker — and accused pedophile — who apparently shot himself on the Cape yesterday told the Herald last night that she had long dreaded her son might be a child molester.

“It confirmed my worst fear,” Sandra Devita said from her Florida home, minutes after learning her long-estranged son, Charles “Chuck” Devita, 43, of Forestdale, apparently had killed himself amid accusations of sex abuse. “He’s my kid, I hate to say it . . . I was afraid of this. He was doing some stuff that I thought was strange. I called the camp and told them my fear.”

Devita said she warned the camp 24 years ago when she called and spoke to a woman named Faith, who she identified as one of the camp leaders. She said Faith told her she would look into it.

This morning the camp’s former director, Faith Willard, refused to respond to a Herald reporter’s questions about the mother’s fears concerning her son. “I don’t have any comment,” Willard said at her Cape Cod home and then closed her front door.

On Monday, in allegations filed with Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe’s office, Devita was accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting a 10-year-old boy in 1985 at Camp Good News in Sandwich, according to attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who represents the alleged victim. Two other alleged victims came forward yesterday to say they were also molested by Devita, Garabedian said.

Sandra Devita said she and Charles’ father divorced when the boy was 2, and she worked three jobs to support them — including as a sex abuse counselor with the New York City social services department. That was where, she said, she learned telltale signs in abuse victims and in abusers that led her to harsh conclusions about her only child. She said she confronted him about his work with a Boy Scout troop, as a lifeguard, and at Camp Good News, where he became a counselor after attending the camp since age 9.

“I had suspicions. I said, ‘Why aren’t you going out? You’re not doing things normal boys do. Why are you working with boys? Not going out and socializing?’ I directly confronted him with it. I knew something was wrong. He said, ‘I had no father to do that stuff with.’ ”

He stopped talking to her 19 years ago, after she confronted him, she said. “Why,” she asked yesterday, “would he kill himself if he didn’t do anything?”

Until yesterday, Devita was the physical plant director at the camp, which attracted the attention of law enforcement earlier this year after U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, 51, wrote in his memoir that he was fondled by a counselor at a Cape Cod camp as a boy.

Last night, a spokeswoman said the senator had no ties to Devita, who was eight years his junior.

“Sen. Brown is aware of the reported suicide at Camp Good News, but he wants to emphasize that he does not know the deceased and has never met him,” Brown spokeswoman Gail Gitcho said.

Devita was also at the center of a Sandwich police investigation in 2002 that involved child pornography, according to officials. No charges were ever filed.

A law enforcement source said Devita left notes for loved ones indicating he was taking his own life, and saying he was “tired of being accused” of molesting children.

“The Camp Good News family is deeply saddened by the loss of our long-time employee,” the camp said in a statement. “Our heartfelt prayers are with Chuck’s family.”

Devita, who was unmarried and had no children, was mourned yesterday by dozens of fellow congregation members at Christian Gateway Church in Mashpee, where he had belonged for 11 years.

“The building may not be big enough to house all the folks that loved him,” pastor Bob Condon said. “In my 11 years as pastor, there was not a single negative comment that I heard about him. He’s the most selfless individual I ever met.”

Members recalled Devita bringing meals to widows and doing repair work on church members’ cars and houses. Every Thanksgiving, he hosted a dinner for people with nowhere else to go.

“He was one of the most giving people I’ve ever known,” church member Moses Reilly said. “He was the last person I ever thought would take his own life.”

The investigation is ongoing, O’Keefe said in a statement hours after Devita’s body was found at the camp.

Joe Dwinell, Laura Crimaldi and the Cape Cod Times contributed to this report.

Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1328956
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