A man has filed a lawsuit alleging that a former Maine summer camp counselor sexually abused him as a 12-year-old boy in the 1970s.

The lawsuit says William Cameron McCook Jr. “induced, cajoled, groomed” and directed the plaintiff to have sexual contact with him. It’s the latest complaint filed since a new state law took effect last year removing the statute of limitations for filing civil claims related to sexual abuse.

The same new law has led to more than a dozen complaints against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, as well as suits filed against a Catholic religious order that operated retreat homes in Maine. The diocese is challenging the new law’s constitutionality, which could affect the lawsuit against McCook. A Maine judge is scheduled to hear arguments in that challenge on Jan. 31.

The plaintiff is represented by the same law firm – Berman & Simmons – that has filed 13 complaints against the diocese on behalf of its clients since June 2022 and is defending the constitutionality of the new law. It’s the first previously expired claim the firm has filed against an individual rather than an organization.

Attorney Timothy Kenlan said this is an important case that goes “beyond the Catholic Church claims.”

The plaintiff, who is now 58, filed suit Thursday in Lincoln County Superior Court under the name “John Doe.” He was a camper at Camp Kieve in Nobleboro in 1976.


McCook, who according to the complaint now lives in Damariscotta, was a camp counselor at the time. During a camp softball game that summer, according to the lawsuit, McCook approached the boy, who was standing on the sidelines because “he was unathletic and disliked sports,” and asked him to visit his home immediately neighboring the campgrounds.

“Where McCook was known to Plaintiff as an authority figure and McCook’s home was located less than 2,000 feet from the summer camp, Plaintiff willingly obeyed McCook without question,” the complaint stated.

McCook was at least 20 years older than the boy.

Once inside, the plaintiff alleges, McCook sexually abused him. At some point during the abuse, they heard a bell ring from the campgrounds signaling for everyone to gather. McCook ordered the boy to get dressed and dismissed him.

Later that day, the boy reported the abuse to another young camper and a 19-year-old rifle instructor, who said “something would be done.”

According to a recent email sent to current members of Camp Kieve, first reported by The Boston Globe, the camp quickly fired McCook.


“It took tremendous strength for the camper to report his experience 47 years ago. Now, so many years later, we are grateful he has come forward again. We are currently working to support the former camper and have informed authorities,” the email to campers said.

Messages left for McCook and Camp Kieve asking to discuss the lawsuit were not immediately returned Thursday afternoon.

Camp Kieve was founded in 1926 as a boys’ summer camp, according to its website, and later merged with the girls’ Wavus Camp in 2005, creating what is now Kieve Wavus Education Inc.

In the email to campers, Kieve Wavus Education said they first told members in 2017 about allegations from the 1950s, which prompted an outside investigation that revealed at least three other incidents in the 1970s.

“Each incident involved a report that a staff member had abused a camper or counselor in the 1970s. We spoke extensively with each of those who came forward, conveying our deep remorse and pledging support. Each perpetrator was reported to authorities,” the email said.

Kenlan said Camp Kieve has been helpful in the investigation and reported the incident to local law enforcement officials a few months ago.

“We worked closely with the camp to hold my client’s abuser accountable,” he said.

Any criminal charges that could arise would be separate from the civil lawsuit.

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