NEWINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — A summer camp counselor in Newington is accused of choking an 8-year-old-boy.
The alleged incident happened in the boys bathroom at Town Hall where art and athletic programs are held for the summer playgrounds program.
Police tell News 8 another counselor saw 22-year-old Vicente Ithier-Vicente with his hands around the boy’s neck and was preventing him from breathing. “He looked over, saw what was occurring, immediately stopped the other counselor from doing what he was doing, and immediately reported that to his superiors,” says Lt. Michael Morgan of the Newington Police Department.
Rebeqa Abrams, who has 8- and 9-year old daughters, says, “That’s kind of scary because I’m from Newington, so I grew up going to Parks and Rec.”
News 8 also spoke with the director of Newington Parks & Recreation along with Ithier-Vicenty’s supervisor. They say he has been a camp counselor for six years and there have never been any other complaints against him.
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Each year he and the other counselors go through extensive training and a background check. This year the town did learn of a domestic incident involving Ithier-Vicenty and one of his siblings but police looked into it and said it wasn’t cause for concern in rehiring him this summer.
“I wouldn’t think something like that would ever happen. But now it seems like it’s becoming more apparent you know there’s more physical abuse coming even with parents as well as with people that watch our kids,” says Abrams.
The 8-year-old boy, who didn’t need any immediate medical attention, wasn’t at camp Tuesday but is expected to return for a field trip Wednesday. His parents were also called immediately after this incident.
Rebeqa Abrams says, “A lot of people do see certain things and they don’t end up reporting it and it just keeps on happening over and over again. I’m glad they did report it.”
No one answered at Ithier-Vicenty’s Newington home. He is now suspended without pay and an internal investigation will determine what happens next as far as his job goes.
Morgan says, “Obviously any case that involves a child or children that’s something we take very seriously. However with any investigation we have to make sure we don’t just rush to judgment.” Ithier-Vicenty faces two charges of risk of injury to a minor and strangulation in the third degree. He’s due in New Britain Superior Court on Aug. 11.