As the case moves forward against the ex-lifeguard accused of raping a 14-year-old girl at Fort Edward's public pool, officials are assuring the public that steps are being taken to ensure this never happens again. Erin Moran reports.
FORT EDWARD, N.Y. -- A former lifeguard is facing some serious charges stemming from an alleged rape at the Fort Edward community pool where he worked. According to court documents, Matthew Mazula of Hudson Falls allegedly had sex with a 14-year-old girl he met back on June 26th while working.
“He's somebody who's working at a public pool and having sex with underage children, so it's an inappropriate place for him to be and that gives us a danger,” said Kevin Kortright, District Attorney for Washington County.
According to statements Mazula made to Fort Edward Police Chief Justin Derway, he said the girl told him she was seventeen and therefore he didn't do anything wrong.
“That's not a defense to the statutory rape charge that he's been charged with,” said Kortright.
Mazula was hired to work at the pool, without a background check, after a position opened up right before the season opening.
“We scrambled and I got a hold of our pool director and she said she had this young man who worked last year and was willing to come back this year,” said Mitchell Suprenant, Town Supervisor of Fort Edward.
Suprenant said that even if a background check had been performed nothing would've come up because Mazula has no prior sex offenses. Regardless, he said background checks will be performed from now on.
“Michael Gray, Director of Youth Services in Alternative Sentencing, has offered to help them with background checks for people that are going to be working with youth,” said Suprenant.
He added the town will pay for the Department of Criminal Justice in Albany to perform a background check on any application they're unfamiliar with. Suprenant said he wants the community to rest assured knowing this will never happen again.
“We will do our due diligence on every person that we allow over there. This will not happen again,” said Suprenant.
Mazula could face up to seven years in prison if convicted on a felony charge of second degree rape and a misdemeanor count of endangering the welfare of a child.
Calls to his attorney were not returned.