Highlighting the risk of aquatics facility sex offenders from the public and staff patrons at several venues became victims of alleged sexual misconduct in summer 2008. Here?s a look at some of the incidents making headlines.
- A 14-year-old British girl claimed she was raped by a 25-year-old male employee of the Slide and Splash waterpark in the Algarve region of Portugal. The accused is no longer employed at the park, according to media reports.
- A 21-year-old suspected sex offender is under arrest for allegedly fondling at least one young girl at the Seven Peaks Waterpark in Provo, Utah. According to reports, the suspect was arrested in January in Orem, Utah, also on sexual abuse charges.
- Former elementary school teacher Duane Champagne is under arrest for video voyeurism. He allegedly inappropriately photographed women and teenage girls at a Baton Rouge, La., waterpark. A police investigation found 13,000 images of young females in bikinis on his computer.
- A man was arrested for taking inappropriate photos of children at Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark on South Padre Island, Texas.
- A 15-year-old employee at Idlewild and Soak Zone waterpark in Ligonier, Pa., was fired after he was accused of illegally photographing women while they were using the changing room. The former employee had used his cell phone camera and fixed it to a broom, police reported.
- Ronald Phillips of Palatine, Ill., was indicted for exposing himself to a child under age 13 at the Holiday Inn Mayan Adventure waterpark in Elmhurst, Ill. Phillips reportedly has twice been convicted of similar crimes.
According to experts, aquatics facilities may be attractive targets for sexual predators because patrons often are scantily clad in swimwear and pools are crowded with lots of young, unsupervised children.