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Summer camp provider speaks out after counsellor accused of sexually assaulting child

'The safety and wellbeing of children and youth are our utmost priorities,' Dovercourt Recreation Association wrote in a message to parents on Friday night, one day after police announced they had charged a 24-year-old woman with sexually assaulting a girl under the age of 12 at an Ottawa-based summer camp program last summer. (Trevor Pritchard/CBC - image credit)

An Ottawa association offering summer camps for kids is speaking out after a counsellor was accused earlier this week of sexually assaulting a child at a camp program last year.

"The safety and wellbeing of children and youth are our utmost priorities and this is a responsibility we take very seriously," Dovercourt Recreation Association wrote in an emailed message to parents Friday night.

The association's statement, which was also posted to its website, came a day after the Ottawa Police Service announced charges against Ghadeer El-Haddad, 24.

According to police, El-Haddad "worked as an inclusion counsellor with children with special needs" and the alleged incident involved a girl under the age of 12.

Police said it happened at an Ottawa-based summer camp program in the summer of 2023.

El-Haddad is facing single counts of sexual assault, sexual interference and assault.

Children's aid society involved

While Dovercourt's statement did not refer specifically to El-Haddad, it included a link to the police statement about El-Haddad for anyone seeking more information.

"Our inclusion and accessibility programs are an important pillar of what we do," read the association's statement, which was attributed to Dovercourt's executive director, Sureen Gosal.

"Dovercourt operates in an environment of constant improvement, and we will continue to proactively communicate with our community going forward.

"Our commitment to the Dovercourt staff, children, parents, adults, and seniors is unwavering."

Gosal said the association is cooperating with police and the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa and can't comment any further because the case is before a court.

CBC has reached out to the Children's Aid Society for comment.