The website for Camp Flying Hawk promises adventure and excitement. The small day camp, it says, is run by an energetic first-grade teacher whose mission is to create "a one-of-a-kind summer experience for your children."
But on Thursday, the director of the unaccredited camp was charged with 500 counts of possessing child pornography.
Arrested was David C. Devine, 34, of Upper Providence, a first-grade teacher at Penn Wood Elementary School in the West Chester Area School District, the Delaware County District Attorney's Office announced.
Investigators found more than 500 pornographic images and videos of elementary-school-age children on computers owned by Devine, according to court documents. Those documents say Devine admitted possessing the pictures.
G. Michael Green, the district attorney, said it appeared Devine downloaded the images off the Internet. Then he addressed the question on the mind of parents of children in Devine's first-grade class and his summer camp.
"We have no reason at this point to believe that any contact offenses occurred either at the camp or anywhere else involving Mr. Devine," the district attorney said.
Green asked anyone with information about Devine or his activities to contact detectives at the Pennsylvania Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force at 610-891-8746.
Investigators were trying to determine if Devine made any of the images on his computers, said Erica Parham, an assistant district attorney. She said a camera was seized from Devine's home.
Devine, whom detectives took into custody Wednesday night, was arraigned Thursday. He was unable to meet bail of $250,000 and was taken to the Delaware County prison. Court officials said he did not yet have an attorney.
State records show he has no criminal history.
The West Chester district promptly suspended Devine from his teaching duties. Superintendent Jim Scanlon said officials responded quickly to news of Devine's arrest by making 22 phone calls to families of Devine's students from last year. An automated message went out to the rest of the district's parents, and news was posted on the district's website.
Scanlon said about 15 parents called during the day, most with questions about how to tell their children of the arrest and how to reinforce the concept of good and bad touching. He said counselors would be available for parents on Friday.
The superintendent said he had several conversations Thursday with Delaware County investigators, who told him they did not think any of the district's children had been harmed.
Parents and students liked Devine, Scanlon said. "That's part of the frustration with the parents," he said. "They're asking, 'How can that be?' "
Rob Partridge, a spokesman for the district, said Devine was hired in December 2008 to teach first grade at Penn Wood after passing three background checks, two by the state and one by the FBI.
In April, Green said, investigators received two "cyber tips" from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Ning, an online platform that allows users to create social networking groups to share common interests, had alerted authorities that a user had uploaded images and videos of child porn to two groups. The images depicted young boys, including one in a sexual act with an adult male.
In July, detectives requested a court order for Yahoo Inc. to locate the Ning user. They found that Devine had been using the site since 2005. On Wednesday, detectives went to Devine's home, across from Rose Tree Elementary School, with a search warrant.
Devine told police he created the Yahoo account and admitted possessing child pornography, according to court documents.
He is listed as the director of Camp Flying Hawk, according to its website. The day camp has no physical location, according to the District Attorney's Office.
The camp operates in three two-week summer sessions, with a limited enrollment of up to 12 children in grades 2 through 5. It promises a 6-1 camper-to-staff ratio, and includes door-to-door pickup and drop-off. Campers are shuttled to activities at swim clubs and parks.
The region's leading accreditation organization for summer camps said it had no record of Camp Flying Hawk. "Unfortunately, anyone can hang a sign outside their door and say 'I'm a camp,' " said Ellen Warren, spokeswoman for the Keystone chapter of the American Camp Association.
In December, Devine purchased a brick twin house for $170,000, according to county records. His Upper Providence neighbors recalled him working in the yard but most said they did not know him.
"It is just unbelievable that would happen," said Janet Sullivan, 54, a neighbor on the quiet street. She said a stockade-style fence surrounding Devine's backyard went up a few weeks ago.
Chester County District Attorney Joseph W. Carroll said he had been advised of the investigation by a Delaware County detective.
Thus far, Carroll said, "there is no indication that any criminal activity took place" in Chester County.