Camp Kieve should have cut ties with a former counselor decades ago after he was accused of sexually abusing several boys, according to an investigation the camp conducted last year in the wake of a lawsuit against the former employee.

The finding comes as two more men have filed lawsuits saying they were abused by the same counselor more than 50 years ago.

The men, who are 65 and 58 years old and asked not to be identified, filed civil complaints this month in Lincoln County Superior Court against William Cameron McCook Jr., alleging he abused them as children. The Portland Press Herald does not name victims of sexual abuse without their consent.

McCook, who worked at Camp Kieve in Nobleboro in the ’60s and ’70s and continued to volunteer there for decades, denied the men’s allegations through an attorney. He already was facing another civil lawsuit alleging that he abused a 12-year-old camper in 1976.

The complaints are the latest allegations of decades-old childhood sexual abuse filed after Maine agreed to remove its statute of limitations for these claims in 2021. Maine’s highest court is still considering a legal challenge to the new law. The court is expected to release a decision within days.

McCook’s attorney, Jack Baldacci, said Tuesday that his client plans to ask Lincoln County Superior Court to pause the two cases against him pending the high court’s ruling. Baldacci already asked the court to pause the earlier case.


“Mr. McCook vigorously denies the allegations against him, and we intend to move the court to stay the new cases pending the Maine Supreme Court’s decision,” Baldacci wrote in an email.


William C. McCook, Jr. in 1974  Middlesex School Yearbooks photo

When the first man sued McCook last year, the camp hired a law firm to investigate the allegations and recently notified campers that the review found that McCook “is a serial predator who sexually abused multiple boys.”

“Recognizing that words are insufficient, we still wish to deeply apologize,” the Kieve Wavus Education Board of Trustees wrote early this year. “We are sorry for the harm that Bill McCook caused and we accept responsibility for the past failures that made his continued presence possible.”

The law firm interviewed more than 50 people and reviewed “hundreds of thousands of pages” of materials, the report states. The camp believes McCook abused 10 boys in the ’60s and ’70s, including five campers.

The report called McCook “a serial predator,” and said that individuals affiliated with Kieve knew this, but “none took timely steps to fully sever his relationship with Kieve.”


McCook was fired in 1976 after a camper informed leadership that McCook had abused him, the camp said. But he was not fired promptly. “Rather, the evidence suggests McCook remained at camp through the conclusion of the 1976 summer season” and was allowed to volunteer there for decades.

He was a “regular presence” at the camp from 1996 to 2007 after he lost his longtime job as a teacher at the Middlesex School in Concord, the report states. He performed administrative tasks and “camper-facing functions” like photographing activities, driving campers and entertaining them with music, ghost stories and tarot card readings.

He continued performing administrative tasks until 2016, when the report says he relocated to a retirement community.

Baldacci did not respond to a request Tuesday night to discuss the report’s allegations.

Timothy Kenlan, the attorney representing all three men suing McCook, said he supports the camp’s transparency – even as one man is also suing the camp for allowing McCook to have access to campers and failing to notify them of his “past bad acts and propensity for sexually molesting minor children.”

The man was never a Camp Kieve camper but he said he stayed in one of its cabins as McCook’s guest.


Kenlan said the lawsuit offers his client “a recognition of what happened,” and he hopes the camp and the public will learn more about what happened and how to prevent child sex abuse in the future through the civil discovery process.

“I don’t want it to take away from the work they’ve been doing,” Kenlan said Tuesday. “I think they’ve done an exemplary job of looking into the past and digging into their own closets and trying to find out what happened and who knew what, to get to the bottom of it.”


McCook, now 83, was a counselor at the all-boys camp from the 1950s until 1976, when the complaints state he was “credibly accused” of abusing a 12-year-old camper.

A background check from the State Bureau of Identification shows McCook has no criminal history in Maine. Kenlan said at least one of his clients, and Camp Kieve, notified the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office of the alleged abuse last year but the criminal statute of limitations had already expired.

McCook was involved in other outdoor youth organizations at the time, including the Boy Scouts of America and the Sierra Club, one complaint states. He also ran personal camping trips that weren’t organized by Camp Kieve, but used its property. He also owned a house next door from 1975 to 2017, the complaints state, where he “had relatively unfettered access to (Kieve Wavus Education’s) campus” until 2007.


According to one man’s complaint, McCook invited him and other family members from Rhode Island and Pennsylvania to stay in the cabins in the summer of 1969 in between regularly scheduled camp programs. He was 11 at the time.

They had just arrived and were eating dinner when the boy told the group he was tired, the lawsuit states. McCook escorted him to his own cabin, where he said McCook proceeded to assault him. The child was “terrified and wished (McCook) would go away,” the complaint states.

He was withdrawn for the remainder of the family trip and later experienced “prolonged psychological injury” as a result,” the lawsuit states.

The’ complaint said McCook was allowed to host guests at the camp site and work with minors even when camp leaders were aware of the accusations against him.

And even after McCook left as a paid employee in 1976, the plaintiff said McCook was still allowed to volunteer with Kieve Wavus Education until 2007 – “including on-premises activities with minor children.”

The other man suing McCook said he was about 9 to 10 years old in the mid-1970s when he and about nine other boys attended a dayslong camping trip that McCook led to an island in Muscongus Bay.


Over the next several days, his complaint states, McCook “would create and find opportunities to isolate” the boy, including sending the other campers off on scavenger hunts and hide-and-seek.

The boy “experienced prolonged psychological injury as a result of the sexual contact,” the lawsuit states.

Both men are asking the court to place a $500,000 lien on McCook’s property so it can be used to pay damages if the men get a favorable verdict.

“It means everything to be able to come forward,” the second man said in a written statement from his attorney. “This is a really powerful and important step in my healing processes. For anyone who has survived abuse, I encourage you to come forward when you’re ready, and know that there are folks out there who will listen, hear you and believe you.”

Correction: This story was updated at 8:15 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024 to correction the amount of damages being sought. 

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