MIAMI (CN) – Parents say a summer camp promised but failed to do a background check on a camp counselor, a recovering addict who “developed an obsession” with their 14-year-old son “that ended with harassment and threats of violence.” They claim the counselor moved out of state to follow their son, and eventually was “arrested, convicted after pleading guilty to a third degree felony, and ultimately jailed when he violated the terms of his probation.”
The parents say they sent their son to Blue Star Camps’ summer camp in North Carolina. The family says that despite the promises, Blue Star and Pinnacle Enterprises did not check its counselors’ histories, and “ignored readily apparent warning signs” when it hired a 26-year-old man who had six different driver licenses – “a red flag, if ever there was one” – and lived at a halfway house for recovering alcoholics and addicts.
The parents say the counselor, Jonathan Krakower, “purchased contraceptive devices for [the boy] and spent an inordinate amount of time secluded with [him] in the canteen,” according to the complaint. “There is no question that this relationship was unhealthy and dangerous to [their son].”
After camp was over, the parents say, Krakower moved to South Florida and began coaching their son’s soccer team. “There is no doubt that Krakower engaged in these activities solely because of the obsession with [their son] that developed, unregulated by defendants, during camp,” according to the complaint.
Krakower’s “obsessive, harassing, criminal behavior involved e-mails, text messages, instant messages, telephone calls and social networking sites,” and the parents say, he “employed several manipulation tactics, including but not limited to creating various aliases and personas to manipulate [their son], faking his own death and blaming [the boy], enlisting the unwilling aid of [their son’s] contemporaries in his schemes, and threatening the lives of [the boy] and his family.”
The family seeks damages for negligence, pain and suffering and costs of medical care. They sued the camp and its corporate parent, but not Krakower, in Miami-Dade County Court. They are represented by Michael Olin.