UPDATED: Hearing postponed in Camp Spindrift assault case

PAUL BILODEAU/Staff photoChristopher Brayton-Tedesco, 28, of 6 Prospect Court in Gloucester stands in the dock Friday in Gloucester District Court. 

The state’s evidence against the ousted YMCA Camp Spindrift counselor facing charges of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 includes an hour of recordings, including a team interview by an Essex County child abuse prevention group with the reported victim and an unidentified cellphone video.

But the volume of evidence and the late arrival of his defense attorney Friday afternoon meant that Christopher Brayton-Tedesco — the 28-year-old Gloucester man charged with three counts of indecent assault during overnight sessions at the Cape Ann YMCA camp — will remain held without bail in Middleton Jail for another four days after a judge Friday postponed his scheduled dangerousness hearing to Tuesday, again in Gloucester District Court.

The delay in the case of Brayton-Tedesco, of 6 Prospect Court, came after defense attorney Nathan Goldstein arrived more than 50 minutes late for the scheduled 2 p.m. session, and Judge Cesar Archilla was reluctant to start the hearing after the clock edged beyond 3:15 p.m.

Prosecutor Aimee Conway told the judge that evidence from Gloucester police and the Essex District Attorney’s office includes a pair of videos totaling about an hour, plus testimony from two witnesses. Goldstein also interviewed at least one witness who was in court to speak on behalf of Brayton-Tedesco, but it was not clear whether she would be called to testify.

Turning to Brayton-Tedesco, who stood silent in the courtroom’s custody box but nodded to the judge’s remarks, Archilla explained his decision to push the hearing to Tuesday.

“Mr. Tedesco, I take your liberty very seriously. I do with everyone before me,” the judge said. “However, I have to do a full hearing — hearing from the commonwealth and from your attorney — and they expect me to review a video that is an hour long.

“I don’t want to rush this — we can’t rush this,” Archilla had told Conway and Goldstein prior to Brayton-Tedesco’s arrival in the courtroom. “These charges are serious, and there is a lot here.”

Charges and evidence

Brayton-Tedesco is charged with three counts of indecent assault and battery on a single victim who is described by YMCA North Shore CEO Christopher Lovasco as a Spindrift camper. A message Lovasco emailed to YMCA members following Brayton-Tedesco’s Aug. 31 arrest indicated that the charges stem from an incident at the camp during Spindrift’s annual overnight sessions.

Neither Carrie Kimball Monahan, spokeswoman for Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, nor others connected with the case have identified the victim’s age or gender, or specified when or how the reported assaults occurred. Archilla has ordered all police reports and other evidence in the case impounded, which Monahan said is common in  sex assault cases involving children as reported victims.

An online calendar listing of events at Camp Spindrift for the summer indicated that the overnight camping sessions were held Aug. 1-3.

In court Friday, Conway submitted additional evidence for discovery to Goldstein and the judge agreed to impound that from public disclosure as well. But, in response to a question from Archilla, Conway said the digital evidence included an “ECCAPP” recording — an acronym for the Essex County Child Abuse Prevention Project — and a “cellphone video.”

Monahan confirmed that the ECCAPP recording would be an interview carried out by a child abuse prevention team with a young victim of an abuse-related crime. The ECCAPP project serves the DA’s office and all 34 Essex County police departments, along with state police detectives, four area Department of Children and Families offices, local mental health centers, and local medical facilities.

When Brayton-Tedesco returns to court Tuesday, he will again be slated to face Archilla. Archilla has filled in for regular Gloucester District Court Judge Michael Patten for both Brayton-Tedesco’s Aug. 31 arraignment and Friday’s scheduled hearing because Patten has recused himself from the case. Clerk Magistrate Margaret Crateau confirmed Friday that Patten’s recusal was due to “a conflict,” though she added that Patten was not more specific.

The investigation that led to the charges against Brayton-Tedesco began when YMCA officials contacted Gloucester police and launched their own probe after another counselor expressed concerns on Aug. 15 that Brayton-Tedesco’s actions made him “uncomfortable and suspicious”.

The YMCA fired Brayton-Tedesco two days later. He was arrested Aug. 31 after Gloucester police went to his Prospect Court residence to serve a search warrant. 

Monahan said Friday that a team from the DA’s office is also reviewing the case to determine whether to seek a grand jury indictment and take the case to Superior Court.

According to state sentencing regulations, a District Court judge cannot hand down a sentence of more than 21/2 years in a house of corrections such as Middleton Jail, while a Superior Court case can lead to a state prison term. Massachusetts sentencing guidelines indicate that each count of indecent assault on a child under 14 can carry a maximum term of 10 years in state prison or the full 21/2 years in a house of correction.

Staff writer Ray Lamont can be reached at 978-675-2705, or via email at rlamont@gloucestertimes.com

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