Bethesda Camp Counselor Charged with Child Sex Abuse

Bethesda Camp Counselor Charged with Child Sex Abuse

The D.C. man taught magic classes at Holton-Arms School summer camp

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Update – Aug. 10, 2015 – The charges against Jose Luis Casumbal Valenzuela have been dropped due to a lack of evidence against him. He is no longer being charged in the case and is no longer suspected of wrongdoing.

Original story – July 13, 2015 – A 43-year-old Washington, D.C., man has been charged with inappropriately touching an 11-year-old student at a Bethesda summer camp.

Jose Luis Casumbal Valenzuela, 43, of the 5400 block of Connecticut Avenue, is charged with a third-degree sex offense and sex abuse of a minor for inappropriately touching the girl while working as a magic class instructor at the Holton-Arms School Creative Summer camp in Bethesda.

The incidents happened between June 30 and July 3 at the camp, according to county police. Police said Valenzuela, who is known to the children as “Jolly,” touched the girl during the magic lessons.

Valenzuela had been employed at the camp since 2012. He was arrested July 10. Police did not provide information about Valenzuela’s bond, but online court records indicate he posted bond July 10 and was released from jail.

On Friday, Susanna Jones, head of Holton-Arms, posted a message to the community about the incident on the school’s website, saying Valenzuela did not teach at the school during the regular school year and that that the school is cooperating with police. She said as soon as the school was notified about the allegations, Valenzuela was removed as a summer camp counselor.

“The School works to very carefully vet and train the summer counselors prior to offering them employment,” Jones wrote. “The School conducts comprehensive background checks including criminal checks of all of our summer counselors, both new and returning, each year before the start of camp. We conduct boundary training with our new counselors according to Maryland Child Protective Services. We have multiple counselors assigned to each class. Finally, we will work with professionals to review our established safety policies, training and protocols.”

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