The 20-year-old camp counselor and student who was charged last week with has been “dismissed” from the college, according to a written statement from VFCC president Don Meyer.
Meyer wrote, in a letter dated July 18, that the school was “shocked and disappointed” by the behavior of counselor Aaron Ashton and “deeply regretted” the incident.
“As soon as we became aware of the incident, we immediately reported it to the police and Aaron Ashton, a VFCC student, was immediately dismissed,” the statement went on to say.
The exposure occurred on July 13 at 1:15 a.m. at the Christian youth summer camp the college hosts annually at its Charlestown Road campus.
At this time Ashton, who is majoring in Education and English at VFCC according to his Facebook page, is alleged to have flashed his genitals to a group of about 20 15- and 16-year-old male campers. He was arrested later that morning and charged with five counts of indecent exposure, harassment, and corruption of minors.
Despite the affair, the camp appears to be running normally this week. While the approximately 180 high school aged campers who were at VFCC at the time of the incident have gone home as planned, this week the camp is hosting middle school students. On Wednesday afternoon, a trail of kids, followed closely by counselors who declined to comment on Ashton, could be seen walking across the campus.
Fabian Kalapuch—the camp director and a youth ministry leader of the New Jersey District Council of the Assemblies of God; a Pentecostal group that controls VFCC’s board of trustees—described the camp as a sleep away bible camp that serves New Jersey youth.
He called the actions of Ashton, and the resulting attention, “difficult” to handle.
“I’m not answering any questions,” Kalapuch said from the lobby of a campus building. “It’s an ongoing investigation. We’ve done everything we’re supposed to do according to the state. We’ve reported it...the camp counselor acted inappropriately and we took the actions that were necessary.”
Unprompted, he suggested that the camp’s Christian orientation is irrelevant to the alleged crime.
“Whether we’re a soccer camp or a church camp, what does that have to do with anything? It was a camp of young people and we’re trying to take care of [the situation].”
“My main interest right now,” he went on, “is making sure the campers' best interests are being looked out for.”