Camp counselor sex case headed to trial
QUEENSBURY — A judge has declined to dismiss child sex charges against a former youth camp counselor who has been accused of sexually abusing nine boys at Brant Lake Camp, setting the state for a trial in the case later this year or early next year.
Dylan T. Stolz was in Warren County Court on Thursday afternoon for a pretrial hearing in his case on 27 sex-related charges. Stolz learned that acting Warren County Judge Kelly McKeighan had rebuffed a motion by his defense counsel to throw out the charges against him.
His lawyer had argued there was insufficient evidence to support the charges and that the grand jury proceedings were legally defective for a number of procedural reasons.
McKeighan scheduled a pretrial hearing for Oct. 25 to focus on admissibility of evidence and told Stolz and lawyers in the case that a trial could be expected in December or early January if no plea deal is reached. Warren County District Attorney Jason Carusone said he could not say whether there have been any plea discussions in the case.
Stolz, 51, of Little Neck, Long Island, has pleaded not guilty to two indictments that allege he fondled nine boys at the camp between 2015 and 2018.
He was arrested in July after a State Police investigation, then subsequently indicted on two occasions as alleged victims continued to come forward. Police have said they were interviewing additional children after the second indictment, and more charges were possible.
Warren County Assistant District Attorney Ben Smith told McKeighan his office planned to seek to join the two indictments so one trial would be held instead of two.
Stolz’s lawyer, Julie Nociolo, told McKeighan her office had concerns about the amount of detail the Warren County District Attorney’s Office has provided about when her client is alleged to have committed the crimes. The indictment and “bill or particulars” that have been filed refer to periods of days in June of 2018 and entire summers in past years.
“The defendant doesn’t know which days any of these alleged offenses are said to have occurred,” she told McKeighan.
She said it was “patently unfair” and “insurmountable” to the defense to not get further specifics, but McKeighan said prosecutors had met their “initial burden” under the law.
Child victims are not held to the same legal standards as adults when it comes to recalling dates of crimes such as sex offenses.
Stolz is free on bail, pending further court action. He would not discuss the case as he left court Thursday.
He faces felony counts of sexual abuse and course of sexual conduct and misdemeanor endangering the welfare of a child, with up to 7 years in state prison on each of the felony counts, sentences that could run consecutively for most of the charges.
He worked as a counselor at the exclusive camp in Horicon, which caters to boys ages 7 to 15, for 33 years and worked as an elementary school teacher in the Hewlett-Woodmere School District in Nassau County the rest of the year. The district placed him on “administrative reassignment” after his arrest, but there have been no allegations he committed any crimes there.
The camp’s management has had no public response to the allegations.
McKeighan was assigned the case when Warren County Judge John Hall recused himself because of a prior conflict of interest with Stolz’s previous lawyer.