A summer camp in Hancock County is being sued in federal court for negligence after three campers allegedly sexually assaulted a fellow camper from Florida in 2017.
Alexis and Orland Birbragher of Miami are seeking at least $75,000 in damages from Robin Hood Camp in Brooksville and owner Rick Littlefield.
According to a civil lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Portland on Jan. 25, camp counselors and Littlefield “actively minimized the severity” of the alleged attack on on the Birbraghers’ son, who is now 14, by three other teens. Littlefield downplayed the incident in his first discussion with the teen’s parents as “minor horseplay,” according to the complaint, and the camp never reported the attack to the state. It also released the other teens, allowing them to leave the state, before police could investigate, according to the complaint.
“Before calling law enforcement or [the victim’s] parents, the very first thing Mr. Littlefield did was call his attorney,” according to the lawsuit.
“The camp’s reputation and financial interests were put before the rights and safety of [the victim] and other campers. The failure to report the crimes caused [the victim] to suffer damages and for the perpetrators to avoid any type of accountability for their egregious conduct,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit alleges that the three teens held down the Florida boy and digitally penetrated him.
Attempts to contact Littlefield and the camp by phone and email were not successful.
The camp’s attorney, Paul S. Douglass of Lewiston, said he recently took on the case and hopes to have a formal response to the allegations filed within 10 days.
“You can rest assured that we are denying the substantive allegation that there was an inappropriate response to this complaint voiced by the plaintiffs,” Douglass said Monday.
According to paperwork filed in the federal court, Douglass was named the camp’s attorney on Feb. 8.
According to a Hancock County Sheriff’s Office incident report filed in U.S. District Court, Littlefield told investigators that his attorney advised him that the incident was not severe enough to warrant a report to police.
“It was outside his clothing only,” according to the report written by Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff McFarland.
Littlefield also told McFarland that the alleged victim did not report the incident until the morning after it occurred.
The camp runs from mid-June to mid-August, according to its website, robinhoodcamp.com, and charges between $10,600 and $11,800 for a seven-week session along with a $500 registration fee. The camp attracts attendees from 25 countries, according to the website.
The lawsuit alleges there were prior incidents involving one of the alleged assailants and that campers were not generally held accountable for bad behavior.
The attorney handling the case for the Birbragher family, Christian Foster of Portland, said the family is requesting $75,000 in damages because that’s the minimum amount to request in a civil suit.
“What my clients want, the monetary thing, is somewhat incidental to them. They want some changes there so that some other kid doesn’t get this treatment,” Foster said. “That’s part of any resolution that we seek, that they [Robin Hood Camp] have the policies and procedures in place to train the staff and enforce” safety regulations.
If you or someone you know needs resources or support related to sexual violence, contact the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s 24/7 hotline at 800-871-7741.