Civil suit alleges that Marlboro Recreation Department failed to supervise, protect children and attempted to cover up sexting incidents
Matthew Kleinstein, 20, of Marlboro Township, pleaded guilty to fourth degree Cyber Harassment on August 17, 2015 in Monmouth County Court. Kleinstein had also been charged with 3rd degree Endangering the Welfare of a Minor after he sent pictures of his genitals to four female campers, ages 11-13, via text message and SnapChat, during his employment as a Camp Counselor with the Marlboro Department of Recreation at Marlboro High School during the summer of 2014.
Kleinstein has applied for Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI). He is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Ronald Lee Reisner on October 9th at 9 a.m, according to Charles Webster, spokesman for the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office. If accepted into the PTI program, Kleinstein will avoid serving jail time and have his criminal record expunged upon successfully completing the program.
A civil lawsuit filed by one of the victims and her guardian on September 18, 2015 alleges that Kleinstein’s father, Darrin Kleinstein, Vice Chairman of the Marlboro Recreation Advisory Committee, obstructed the investigation into his son’s actions by the Marlboro Recreation Department and the Marlboro Police Department. The suit alleges that the elder Kleinstein contended that the allegations were false and manufactured with the intent of harassing his son.
The lawsuit, which names Marlboro Township, the Marlboro Township Recreation Department, both Kleinsteins and Recreation Department employees Ted Ernst, Michelle Gropper, Lyne Gustman and Suzi Leifer as defendants, complains that the younger Kleinstein was allowed to continue working as a camp counselor for the entire 2014 season, even after Recreation Department managers became aware of the sexting incidents, which occurred during the first week of the season, according to both the prosecutor and the lawsuit. Matthew Kleinstein was transferred to working with 2nd and 3rd grade campers, instead of young teens, according to the lawsuit.
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The suit alleges that Matthew Kleinstein attempted to induce the 11-13 year old girls in his care into returning sexually explicit photos of themselves to him, both during camp time and after hours. Webster said the Prosecutor’s Office has no evidence that the girls were ever photographed in a sexually explicit manner.
The lawsuit alleges that that the 13 year old plaintiff identified as I.D. to protect her privacy, has had her childhood cut short by the incidents. She has felt distressed, isolated, stigmatized and harassed. She is frightened to appear in public and is unwilling to participate in outside school activities, according to the suit which was filed by Steven P. Lombardi, Esq.
Robert Honecker, Esq. of Ansell, Grimm and Aaron in Ocean Township, is Matthew Kleinstein’s criminal defense attorney. Hornecker said, “Unfortunately, this type of activity that Matthew pleaded guilty to is prevalent on both sides. He’s admitted to his wrong doing and offered his apologies in Court. Matthew has applied for PTI and our hope is that this mistake will not follow him for the rest of his life.”
Matthew Kleinstein was an All Star baseball player at Colts Neck High School, from where he graduated in 2013. He went to play baseball for West Virginia University and Felician College in Rutherford, NJ.
Marlboro Mayor Jonathan Hornik said that the Township has not yet been served with the lawsuit. He declined to comment because it is a personnel matter and because it is now a matter in litigation.