What to Know
- Christopher Falzone, a counselor at Camp Live Oak at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, was arrested Monday
- Falzone is charged with lewd and lascivious behavior or conduct by a person over 18
A counselor at a Fort Lauderdale summer camp was arrested after police say he inappropriately touched a 10-year-old camper and whispered "I love you" in her ear.
Christopher Falzone, a counselor at Camp Live Oak at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, was arrested Monday on a charge of lewd and lascivious behavior or conduct by a person over 18, according to an arrest report.
According to the report, the 35-year-old Falzone was a counselor and associate director at the camp where the girl attended from June 11 to Aug. 3, when the girl's mother called police to report the inappropriate touching.
The mother told police she heard her daughter talking on the phone and heard a "grown man's" voice on the other end, and discovered her daughter was on a Facebook Messenger call with Falzone, the report said.
The girl told detectives that since she had broken her arm and couldn't participate in the camp's swimming activities, she would sit with Falzone under a tent while the rest of the campers would go swimming, the report said.
Falzone touched the girl on about 15 occasions while they were under the tent, the girl told detectives, according to the report. Falzone would also whisper in her ear "I love you" and "you're my beautiful," according to the report.
The girl said she was also inappropriately touched on field trips and on the bus on the way back from trips, the report said.
Detectives also found a number of Facebook Messenger app messages between Falzone and the girl that started on July 13. "Hi I already miss you," she wrote in one, according to the report. "Aww. I miss you too," he replied.
When the girl wrote "I want you," Falzone replied "Awwww," according to the report.
When he was interviewed by detectives, Falzone admitted to having private conversations with the girl and whispering "I love you" in her ear, the report said. He said he did not remember touching her, but he was "not calling [her] a liar," the report said.
Falzone was booked into jail where he was being held on $25,000 bond Tuesday, records showed. Attorney information wasn't available.
"Visitor safety is a priority for Florida State Parks. All outside, private parties conducting events or programs are required to retain an event permit from Florida State Parks. Camp Live Oak retained a private event permit from the Florida Park Service for their camp. The Florida Park Service conducts background checks on permit holders and concessionaires, and also requires permit holders and concessionaires to conduct background checks on their employees and volunteers," the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, which runs the park, said in a statement.
Officials at Camp Live Oak said they are cooperating with authorities in the investigation.
"At Camp Live Oak, our commitment to the safety of our campers, staff, and surrounding community is our highest priority and chief objective. We have a zero tolerance policy for inappropriate misconduct within- or peripherally related to our organization," camp officials said in a statement.
Falzone, from Davie, also works as a teacher, including for a third grade class at Renaissance Charter School at Cooper City this past year.
School officials said they are aware of the arrest and said Falzone has been placed on leave pending the outcome of the investigation.