Thursday, February 25, 2021

NY summer camp to the stars says alleged sexual abuse victim didn’t protect himself

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A tony New York summer camp catering to kids of the rich and famous says it’s not to blame for a perv former counselor — because his kiddie accuser should have protected himself better, court papers show.

Exclusive Brant Lake Camp — whose members have reportedly included the sons of Ralph Lauren and Jerry Seinfeld — made the eyebrow-raising claim in response to a lawsuit by the family of a young former camper from Manhattan.

The boy was 9 when he told his parents in June 2018 that then-longtime camp counselor Dylan Stolz, 53, touched his penis — sparking a police probe that led to scores of other young boys stepping forward alleging abuse at the employee’s hands, according to the upstate newspaper the Post-Star.

Stolz, who worked at the camp for 33 years — and as an elementary-school teacher in the Hewlett-Woodmere School District on Long Island during the off-season — is now doing four and a half years behind bars on felony sex-abuse counts.

But Brant Lake — which along with Stoltz is being targeted by the parents of the boy in a Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit filed in November — fired back in recent documents that the child did nothing to prevent the alleged attack himself.

That is just one reason the camp should be off the hook legally, the papers say.

“Plaintiff failed to take reasonable precautions for his own safety and otherwise failed to take reasonable action to mitigate or minimize his alleged damages,’’ the response states.

The camp’s lawyer, Michael Stonberg, told The Post in an e-mail that the document statement “is a standard, boilerplate defense asserted in all of our answers. 

“Brant Lake Camp in no way blames a camper in any such matter and, in fact, thinks the plaintiffs’ son is an exemplary camper and wish him only the very best,” Stonberg said.

The website for the exclusive Brant Lake camp, whose members have reportedly included the sons of Ralph Lauren and Jerry Seinfeldbrantlake.com

The camp added in the court document that it isn’t responsible for Stolz’s conduct, anyway.

But the plaintiff’s lawyer, Marijo Adimey, referring to the camp’s court filing, shot back in a statement to The Post, “Dylan Stolz sexually abused my client, a young innocent boy, when he was just 9 years and on his first night of his second summer as a camper at Brant Lake Camp.”

Camp staffers, including higher-ups, “were warned about inappropriate behavior of a sexual nature by Stolz and did absolutely nothing about it,’’ the lawyer said, echoing allegations in the Manhattan lawsuit and previously in the Post-Star.

“What is nearly as unconscionable as the complacency of Brant Lake Camp in allowing this abuse to occur is the shocking audacity of their defense that this innocent and helpless boy failed to take reasonable precautions for his own safety’ and minimize his own damages,” Adimey said.

Stolz of Queens was arrested over the boy’s allegations in July 2018 but maintained his innocence for months, even after eventually facing charges involving a total of 11 kids, the Post-Star has said.

Stolz was then set to go to trial again in early May 2019 on charges related to seven of the boys, after the other four kids’ cases against him were either dismissed or dropped, the paper said.

But he dodged trial on the raps by copping to what’s known as an Alford Plea at the last minute in two of the cases. The other remaining cases were dropped as part of the agreement.

Under an Alford Plea, suspects don’t have to admit guilt, but they are effectively acknowledging that prosecutors likely have enough evidence to convict them.

Stolz pleaded guilty to felony sexual abuse and course of sexual conduct against a child, the Post-Star said.

Stolz told the paper he was “innocent” after he pleaded out.

Meanwhile, his Manhattan accuser is not the only one suing over alleged abuse at the camp — which charges nearly $14,000 for a seven-week stay and has included the offspring of Lauren and Seinfeld, according to the Web site Air Mail.

The site said a now-48-year-old former camper filed suit in June alleging two unnamed counselors forced him to perform oral sex on them in 1982, when he was 9.

Another male plaintiff filed suit against Brant Lake in 2019 saying that when he was 6 years old in 1960, a male counselor touched his genitals and kissed him, the site said.

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