A prominent Baldwin County summer camp is under investigation after employees at the camp gave at least three children Melatonin pills at bedtime, the Baldwin County Sheriff's Office (BCSO) told FOX10 News Investigates.
Camp Beckwith, a church camp in southern Fairhope on the coast of Weeks Bay, is the camp in question. It's a highly acclaimed facility, where families across the Gulf Coast send their kids for a week of fun and spiritual enrichment.
BCSO said the allegations stem from a week-long camp session that ended on Friday, July 20.
Baldwin County Sheriff Hoss Mack said investigators have determined employees gave two nine-year-olds and one eight-year-old the sleeping aid.
Mack said investigators are interviewing several parents, and are working to determine if employees distributed more pills to other kids, and if pills were given out during other camp sessions.
"There is an Alabama statue that prevents unlawful dispensing of a prescribed medication or other medication that is otherwise restricted, such as an age restriction or a condition restriction," said Mack. "So, one of the things we're looking at is not only how this substance was distributed, but what the circumstances were, who had knowledge of it, who authorized it, and if there was any violation of the law."
FOX10 News Investigates also obtained a copy of an email the Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast sent to concerned parents.
In it, the Bishop admitted "staff members recently deviated from the camp's established medical policies."
The Bishop also wrote in the email that some employees were suspended as a result of the "policy deviations" and the Diocese is "making arrangement for the remaining staff members to receive professional counseling and education on the Camp's policies surrounding the distribution and administration of medications and the risks inherent in deviating from established policies."
The Bishop told FOX10 News Investigates he will be available for a comment on Thursday about the allegations.
Sheriff Mack said his investigators are speaking with both the Baldwin County District Attorney's Office and the Alabama Department of Human Resources about the allegations.
He said, so far, no charges have been filed, but that could change.
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