Suspect arrested in Oregon Coast Aquarium sexual assault www.privateofficer.com
NEWPORT, Ore. June 6 2012– Two girls told police that a man monitoring a student event at the Oregon Coast Aquarium Saturday touched them inappropriately.
The incident was witnessed by at least two others who were also interviewed by investigators, according to Sgt. Tom Simpson with the Newport Police Department.
The suspect, Benjamin Dean, 24, of Albany, was arrested on two counts of sex abuse and two counts of harassment. He was lodged at the Lincoln County Jail with bail set at $60,000.
The girls, ages 11 and 12, were participating in science projects at the aquarium when Dean touched them inappropriately, Simpson said.
Dean was not an aquarium employee. He was from an outside organization brought in to monitor the special event.
The Oregon Aquarium sent this statement to the media, following the arrest:
We at the Oregon Coast Aquarium were shocked to learn that an arrest was made Saturday during an event sponsored here by a second party.
We wish to note that the person accused of inappropriately touching two girls is not an Aquarium employee and is not associated with our organization in any way. He was involved as a facilitator in a private Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) event which is not a part of any of our programs.
For all of our own educational programs, we fingerprint and do extensive background checks on all adults involved.
The ROV Competition event took place in a separate area of the aquarium, not in a public place and there were chaperons around at all times during the event.
Cindy Hanson, Public Relations Manager, Oregon Coast Aquarium