FAIRHOPE, Ala. (WKRG) — The number of children that may have been drugged with the sleep-aid melatonin at a Baldwin County church camp is growing. Almost a dozen children and their families have come forward.
The accusations are disturbing, children at Camp Beckwith given melatonin without consent from parents.
“This was kind of done at one time. Even though they were given to the children on an individual basis, it was done at one time before bedtime.” Baldwin County Sheriff Hoss Mack says the investigation began July 24th with three children. Now, he says, almost a dozen have made similar allegations.
“We’ve had a good number of people that have come forward on both sides both from Camp Beckwith as well as the children and their families.”
“It promotes a calming down effect. Some people use it as a sleep aid.” Pharmacist Larry Mosley says melatonin is popular and comes in a 3 or 5-milligram tablets. It was the 5-milligram tablet investigators believe was given to the children, the youngest so far was 8-years-old. “It’s not something you would give to children,” says Mosley, “particularly less than about 16 or 17 years old.”
Because melatonin is not a controlled or prescribed substance, criminal charges are not likely according to the sheriff but the investigation is just getting started. “The question that has come up both by parents and law enforcement; was there any other medications, any other items that may have been given out over that time?” That is a question without an answer at this point.
Legal counsel for Camp Beckwith Liam Scully released this statement to News 5:
“The archdiocese is offering all cooperation. In the meantime, we’re reviewing all our policies and retraining staff to make sure they are aware of policies and acting in accordance with those policies. Camp Beckwith is supposed to be a happy, growth experience. Anything that breaks that is a failure on our part. The bishop regrets the incident and is being open and honest with anything law enforcement needs.”
The Department of Human Resources and the Baldwin County District Attorney’s office is assisting in the investigation.