Brooklyn Camp Counselor Charged in Kid-sex Case

By Jamie Schram, William J. Gorta and Chuck Bennett (New York Post)
March 5, 2011

passofThis head counselor -- perched comfortably on a child's playset in a photo posted on a Brooklyn day camp's Web site -- was named by prosecutors yesterday as a sexual deviant.

Joseph Passof, a retired New York City schoolteacher known by the nickname "Uncle Joe," is accused of molesting a 5-year-old boy in a bathroom last summer, authorities said.

The counselor was slapped with a slew of sex-abuse charges for the heinous July assault, in which he allegedly sneaked up behind his young victim and attacked him in front of a 4-year-old camper.

"That's Uncle Joe, bad person," the young witness told investigators when he was shown a photograph of Passof, police sources said.

The 65-year-old, who spent 36 years on staff at the Flatbush Park Jewish Center Day Camp, was arrested Wednesday and pleaded not guilty yesterday.

A camp photo (pictured) shows the tubby teacher surrounded by child playthings and a pile of kids' clothes. Camp director Kevin Adelson didn't return calls and e-mails for comment.

Passof's defense lawyer, Jay Cohen, said Passof is impotent because of high blood pressure and diabetes.

Cohen said the accusation was fabricated by the mother of the witness, who had been chastised by Passof and another counselor.

Cohen said Passof had actually walked in on the two boys in the bathroom "experimenting" with their pants down.

Passof, who plans to testify before a grand jury, says he only yelled at them to pull their pants up and denied any abuse, according to Cohen.

Passof appears prominently on the Web site of Flatbush Park Jewish Center Day Camp, which costs $3,000 for eight weeks and accepts kids from ages 4 to 14.

There are pictures of a portly-looking Passof sitting on a child's jungle gym and another section touts his skills in preparing fish sticks for the campers.

He was ordered held on $50,000 bail or bond.

Passof taught at city schools, including PS 99 Isaac Asimov School for Science and Literature in Midwood, Brooklyn, from 1984 until his retirement in 2003.

The Department of Education said he had no disciplinary history.