NORTH GREENBUSH, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Police have accused an East Greenbush man of inappropriately touching a young boy while working as a camp counselor.
On August 9, North Greenbush police received a call from a witness who claimed Marcus Helm, 19, was inappropriately touching a male student while at the Bell Top School playground. According to police, Helm was at the school as a camp counselor and student instructor with Pai’s Tae Kwon Do day camp.
Police said the victim was a 6-year-old boy.
James Russell has two children who take lessons at Pai’s Tae Kwon Do. He said he never saw Helm act inappropriately, so he was shocked to learn of Helm’s arrest.
“It’s kind of sad that a guy that seemed like he had stuff going for him would just resort to touching little kids,” he said.
Helm was charged with three counts of Forcible Touching and two counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child.
Russell said he will keep bringing his kids to Pai’s Tae Kwon Do because he always watches their classes.
“I don’t do any of the day camp stuff or overnight or all day events where they’re out of my sight,” he said.
But he also feels Helm’s alleged actions were an isolated incident.
“You just can’t blame the whole company for that,” Russell said.
Pai’s Tae Kwon Do’s attorney said Helm has been removed from the schedule. She also sent the following statement:
For more than 25 years, Pai’s Tae Kwon Do has been a fixture in the Capital Region . During that time, we have worked with thousands of families and our number one concern has been and remains the safety and well-being of our students.
A serious allegation has been made against a long-term student and assistant instructor solely assigned to the [North] Greenbush school. The allegation stems from his involvement in the summer camp program.
Upon learning of this allegation, he was immediately removed from all school programs, and we initiated an internal investigation led by a top-law enforcement professional in an attempt to determine the facts.
Based on the information obtained in this investigation, we do not believe there are any other allegations of inappropriate conduct at the camp or in any of the classes offered in our schools located in Troy, Albany or [North] Greenbush.
We continue to cooperate with local law enforcement and our internal investigation is ongoing.
No other victims have been identified. Anyone who feels they may have been victimized by Helm should contact North Greenbush police at (518) 283-5323.