Queens Summer Camp Counter-Sues Parents of Molested Child for Defamation

Categories: Lawsuits

world-discovery-fliers.JPG
Michele Betti
Edwin and Loredana Johansmeyer, along with a volunteer, passing out fliers.
In June 2010, Joseph Denice, a 24-year-old educator in Queens, pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy. Months later, the boy's parents sued Denice's various employers, including New York City Department of Education, the Child Care Center of New York, and World of Discovery Day Camp. The parents claimed that Denice had abused the boy at the summer camp, among other places. World of Discovery, however, argued that the abuse occurred only on residential properties and not at the camp.

The suit trudged along for a few years, through depositions and discovery. Then it took a sharp turn.

On January 12, 2014, the boy's parents, Edwin and Loredana Johansmeyer, showed up at the camp's open house to hand out flyers that began:

Please help us protect the vulnerable!

We are parents of a child who was molested at World of Discovery Day Camp of Queens by a counselor, Joseph Denice (who worked here roughly from 2003 through 2009).

So last month, World of Discovery counter-sued the parents for defamation.

The camp accused the parents and their lawyer, Michele Betti, of trying to "extort a settlement from the Camp" by threatening to go public with their claims.

"Rather than merely exercising their First Amendment rights, Defendants began to actively deter parents from enrolling and re-enrolling their children in the Camp through disseminating statements about the Camp that were false and defamatory," the complaint states.

The flyer reads:

We are here today because we are concerned about others who might be hurt or have been hurt by Denice, especially those who may be suffering in shame, secrecy and self-blame.

For the past several years, we have tried to get World of Discovery Day Camp officials to publicly admit that our child's allegations against Denice are credible. They have refused. Camp officials have refused to turn over their 'investigation report' to us despite numerous requests.

It charges that Denice gave the child alcohol and cigarettes and physically abused him at the summer camp.

"As a direct result of the negligence by camp officials, our child was abused," the flyer continued. "Our fear is that there are other children and young adults who were hurt as kids by Denice and who are now depressed, isolated, addicted, ashamed, and struggling."

The Johansmeyer argue that World of Discovery should have suspected the abuse because Denice wrote the checks to cover their son's camp tuition without their knowledge.

Their lawsuit claims that Denice abused their son at his school, I.S. 25, and at an after-school program, in addition to at the camp. Criminal prosecutors had charged that Denice tricked the boy into thinking that child services were investigating his parents and he needed to give him a "full-body scan" to check for signs of abuse.

Next: World of Discovery's counter.

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5 comments
doubleconcerned
doubleconcerned

For all the concerned parents that state World of Discovery is safe and a wonderful place ..please read: nypost.com/tag/james-rampulla-jr/   This person, James Rampulla, a teacher in a middle school "groomed" a child, gave him a job at World of Discovery, where Rampulla was an assistant director , that is his access to children.   Most of these directors, assistant director are principals and assistant principals within the DOE.....Watch with whom you leave your child, trust no one.....because they are educators doesn't mean they have your best interest at heart....They are mandated reporters....they know the signs they just don't want their reputation ruined....and if you dare say anything about them, their  law firm will sue you.....We are all waiting to see if anything is said about this situation....deny, deny, deny.....ignorance is bliss for the WOD ...don't be a fool if you care for your child....two instances, one convicted predator, the other allowed back to teach.....



Teacher isn't fired after giving teen gifts, sending 'love' textsNew York Post-Jul 6, 2014ShareMiddle school teacher James Rampulla was found guilty of inappropriate behavior with a student, but was not fired. Photo: Angel Chevrestt ...Teacher Who Showered 14-Year-Old With Gifts, Love-Texts Keeps ...
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BBNY
BBNY

So this molester followed this young boy around to all these various places? And wrote checks paying for the boys camp tuition?? Something is not right with the story or this article is very poorly written, as the whole thing is convoluted. Just want to know the facts of the story as I have several friends who send their kids to World of Discovery day camp. He stated that he was not abused AT the camp but at a school program. Why is this molester in all of the same places as the child and how could he have paid for the boys tuition without the parents knowledge? I want to know if this molester had some kind of personal relationship/friendship to the parents before the abuse was brought to light.

dcerulli
dcerulli

This is another case of an organization blaming the victims rather than doing what is right to protect children. After all we have learned regarding the abuse of children it is difficult to understand why any organization or institution would respond with such a callous disregard for the protection of children.

snapdorris
snapdorris

Predators are likely in every segment of society. What is important is what are institutions going to do when one is caught. They can work with law enforcement, seek out anyone who has been hurt and encourage witnesses and whistleblowers to come forward. Or as the camp has done put the reputation of the institution ahead of the safety and well being of the children.

We hope anyone who has seen or suspected these misdeeds will contact law enforcement and that anyone who has been hurt will come forward and begin to heal.

Barbara Dorris

Outreach director for SNAP

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

314-862-7688

SNAPdorris@gmail.com

doubleconcerned
doubleconcerned

@BBNY You're doubt is very obvious, especially when you state your friends allow their children to attend World of Discovery, May I ask are you a employee of the Dept of Ed also?   I highly doubt any parent would allow their child to be hurt, especially in this way, by a so called "trusting counselor".   Until you know all the facts, don't post ignorant comments, because obviously you do not know the facts.

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