Local News

Report: No merit to claim Salvation Army campers were asked to leave Smithfield pool

Posted August 25, 2016 8:08 p.m. EDT
Updated August 25, 2016 8:09 p.m. EDT

Smithfield Recreation & Aquatics Center

— Authorities have found no merit to claims made earlier this month that Salvation Army campers were thrown out of the Smithfield Recreation & Aquatics Center and told not to return.

An investigation was launched after the incident, which occurred in June, was brought up at a Town Council meeting in early August.

Salvation Army Maj. Keri Booth said 35 campers were ordered to leave after an altercation in the pool between a camper and another boy, who camp director Alexa Lane said instigated the fight.

"We were told our children will never be members of SRAC. That may or may not be true," Booth said.

According to a report released this week, police interviewed all SRAC and Salvation Army staff members that were present during the altercation. Investigators determined that none of the staff members besides Booth remembered the comment being made and all SRAC staff denied making the comment. The report also states that all members of Booth’s staff told police that she was not present at the SRAC when Salvation Army campers were present.

The June 8 occurred between a 13-year-old boy from the Salvation Army camp and another 10-year-old boy in the pool. The 10-year-old kicked the 13-year-old under the water, prompting the 13-year-pld to throw a basketball, striking him in the head, the report said. The boys were both removed from the pool and shook hands and apologized afterwards, the report states.

Booth said that campers were asked to leave following the altercation, but investigators determined that the group remained at the pool for at least a half hour after the incident and left at a time of their own choosing.

Investigators also determined that the claim that members of the Salvation Army camp were told not to return to the SRAC was untrue. According to members of the Salvation Army and SRAC who were interviewed, staff with the SRAC contacted the Salvation Army Staff on two occasions following the incident inviting campers to return.

“Neither time worked out for the Salvation Army, so they chose not to attend the SRAC. Reservations revealed that the Salvation Army staff could not be accommodated at other dates and times the Salvation Army wanted to come due to previous group registrations,” the report said.