New Jersey camp counselors suspended after child suffers burns

TOMS RIVER, New Jersey (WABC) -- An investigation is underway in New Jersey after a family claimed their son and other children were forced by camp counselors to sit outside on hot asphalt as punishment for leaving a mess in an art room.

The family also alleges that when the kids complained that the ground was too hot, counselors made them sit longer. They then sat on their hands trying to keep their legs from searing, and they ended up with scorched fingertips.

It is purported to have happened at the Toms River Summer Camp off Bey Lea Road.

"As a mom, if I would have been in that situation, I would have lost my mind," neighbor Jacqueline Pascual said.

Toms River officials say three counselors were immediately and indefinitely suspended, though the investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office concluded that there was no criminal intent.

"At this time, this matter does not appear to be criminal in nature, as there was no criminal intent associated with the actions of the camp counselors," Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer said. "This matter has been referred back to the Division of Child Permanency & Protection's Institutional Abuse Unit for whatever action they deem appropriate."

Samantha and Jake are the child's neighbors, and they attend another camp.

"You're leaving your kid behind, and you want to trust the parent or adult there that's protecting your kid or watching your kid," 13-year-old Samantha said.

Still, their mom says it's just too painful to even let them see the picture of their friend's burned fingertips.

"I think that the people who did it were very wrong," 11-year-old Jake said.

The township called it an isolated and unfortunate incident in what it says has become an exceptional youth program.

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