UPDATE: $3,000 bail set for ex-YMCA counselor

PAUL BILODEAU/Staff photo. Christopher Brayton-Tedesco, 28, of 6 Prospect Court in Gloucester stands in the dock during a hearing Friday in Gloucester District Court. 9/7/18

The ousted Camp Spindrift counselor accused of indecently assaulting a Cape Ann YMCA camper remains a danger to the alleged victim and other children, a district court judge found Tuesday.

Christopher Brayton-Tedesco, 28, of 6 Prospect Court in Gloucester, may be released on $3,000 bail, according to Gloucester District Court Judge Cesar Archilla. But Brayton-Tedesco must remain under house arrest with GPS monitoring equipment, not have any contact with the victim or his family — who do not live on Cape Ann — not have any access to social media, and must stay away from the Cape Ann YMCA and Gloucester public schools, the judge ordered.

Brayton-Tedesco is also barred from having any contact with any potential witnesses — including his former fellow counselors — and having any unsupervised contact with any children age 16 or younger. The former counselor was arrested Aug. 31 on three counts of indecent assault and battery on a child.

The judge's orders came at the end of an hour-long dangerousness hearing Tuesday, and followed testimony that revealed the evidence against Brayton-Tedesco, who is said to have carved out an attachment with a young male student he taught at a school outside of Boston, and whom he regularly drove to and from Camp Spindrift. 

That evidence includes a video taken by Gloucester police from the cell phone of the victim showing the former counselor and youth, whose age has still not been disclosed, walking nude around Brayton-Tedesco's Gloucester apartment, then "walking upstairs," Gloucester Police Lt. Michael Gossom testified. 

Testimony showed that, while YMCA officials had indicated the alleged incidents occurred at the Cape Ann Y's summer camp, the alleged incidents occurred in the counselor's apartment, when the alleged victim's mother believed her son was at the camp.

All case evidence — including a 12-page police report and 22 still photos obtained by police — remains impounded by the judge at both sides' request. In addition to the video, the evidence includes a nearly one-hour long recorded interview with the victim carried out by a team with the Essex County Child Abuse Prevention Project. Neither recording was played in court Tuesday, but both were submitted by prosecutor Heidi Sylvanowicz for viewing and listening by the judge.

Tuesday's hearing played out as the YMCA continues its investigation into the incident, YMCA risk management director Darlene Moulton testified. Meanwhile, Superior Court attorneys with the office of Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett continue to weigh whether they will seek to take the case to a grand jury for potential indictment, DA's office communications director Carrie Kimball Monahan said Tuesday.

Each charge of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 could bring a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, according to state sentencing guidelines, but a district court judge may impose a sentence of no more than 2 1/2 years in a house of corrections.

Scholarship and rides

In court, Sylvanowicz painted a case in which Brayton-Tedesco forged an inappropriate relationship with the young camper in 2017 at a charter school outside Boston which the boy attended and where the Gloucester man taught. Brayton-Tedesco is no longer listed as part of the school staff.

Brayton-Tedesco, who had worked at Camp Spindrift for 13 years, Moulton testified, pushed for the youth to get a 50 percent scholarship to attend the camp, and covered the rest of the boy's tuition himself. He also picked up the boy at his house, regularly drove the youth to and from the camp, and spent extensive time with him at Spindrift.

Moulton said she began investigating the situation when other Y counselors raised concerns about Brayton-Tedesco's relationship with the youth on Aug. 15, and she reported the case to Gloucester police and the state's Department of Children and Families. She also found that Brayton-Tedescro — not the child's mother — was listed as the youth's emergency contact. 

"The (other counselors) were uncomfortable with (the relationship); they thought it was weird," she testified. Upon her investigation, the YMCA suspended Brayton-Tedesco, then fired him Aug. 17.

Moulton's investigation turned up more evidence as recently as last week, when speaking to a camp worker who was supposed to be a bus monitor for the youth's trips with Brayton-Tedesco.

"She said she wasn't with him all the time as we had thought," Moulton told the court, noting that the new evidence came after Brayton-Moulton's  arrest. "So we know now he was all alone with (the camper)." 

"Our policy is that here must be two adults any time (a camper) is being transported," she added, "but we realize, at that point, we really don't know for sure whether he was bringing him home or not."  She said, in retrospect, that scenario was just one form of "red-flag behavior" exhibited by Brayton-Tedesco. 

No record, setting bail 

Sylvanowicz, arguing for Brayton-Tedecso to remain held without bail, said the transportation scenario is an example of how Brayton-Tedesco connived to give himself "unfettered access to this victim."

But attorney Nathan Goldstein, representing Brayton-Tedesco, noted that the ex-counselor has no prior criminal record of any kind.

"You'll see there is no CORI report, judge," he said, referring to the Criminal Offenders Records Information Act. "That's because he has no CORI," Goldstein added. Despite that, Archilla to set conditions with his dangerousness finding. 

For practical purposes, Archilla's finding Tuesday afternoon meant that Brayton-Tedesco would spend one more night in Middleton Jail while he was being fitted for a GPS bracelet. He will be eligible for his limited release as soon as that is in place and he posts cash bail. He is scheduled to reappear in Gloucester District Court date on Oct. 22

Moulton acknowledged that Brayton-Tedesco was "one of our leaders."

"He was very much respected," she said in response to a question from Goldstein. "That's what makes this so hard."

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

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