Sex Predator Allegations Bring Change to Ocean City Beach Patrol
Mayor Jay A. Gillian said he has started to make changes to the Ocean City Beach Patrol to deal with anonymous allegations of sexual abuse made on an Instagram account.
Many of the posts to the page called ocbp_predators describe men in their 30s and 40s taking advantage of 16- and 17-year-old female lifeguards. There are frequent mentions of drugs and alcohol, teen guards being sexualized and the teens waking up not aware of what happened the night before.
Gillian said that while the Cape May County Prosecutor's Office continues its investigation, mayoral aide Michael Allegretto has been appointed to oversee the operation of the the Beach Patrol and has two immediate tasks.
The first is to bring in an experienced outside manager to oversee day-to-day operations while the investigation is conducted and to hire an experienced labor attorney to ensure the city’s policies and procedures are sufficient, correctly implemented and properly communicated, according to Gillian.
Mark Jamieson remains as operations chief of the patrol and will report to the new manager once he is hired. Jamieson has been with the Beach Patrol for over 20 years and held his current position since 2017, according to the Cape May County Herald.
Allegretto is a former school board and city council member who Gillian appointed to his current position in 2020, according to OCNJDaily.com.
Gillian said his goal is to "ensure that all our city team members work in a safe environment."
City spokesman Doug Bergen did not say if Allegretto has any previous experience with the OCBP or if anyone been relieved of duty, demoted or fired as a result of the allegations.
Gillian encouraged more people to report their allegations directly to the Prosecutor’s Office at 609-465-1135, anonymously through the Cape May County Sheriff’s Tip Line at cmcsheriff.net (click on anonymous tip), or by calling Cape May County Crime Stoppers at 609-889-3597.
The person who created the Instagram page wrote in a post that they never said the entire OCBP is bad or intended to "ruin the beach patrol." It was only to give those who had been harassed or assaulted a platform.
"Many of the guards take pride in guarding lives and are great people. These people do not deserve to be exposed to inappropriate conduct at work or encouraged to participate outside of the work environment especially starting at such impressionable ages," the page's creator wrote.