A counselor at Trackers Bay, a popular Berkeley-based outdoor camp with locations around the Bay Area, has been arrested on suspicion of possessing child pornography, authorities report.
The counselor, 36-year-old Tyler Robles of Richmond, was immediately placed on leave from Trackers Bay and “resigned shortly thereafter,” according to an email the camp sent to parents the day after the arrest.
According to the July 1 email, “There is no indication at this time that any Trackers students or programs — past or present — are involved in this matter in any way, and Trackers continues to seek information from law enforcement.”
Robles was arrested Wednesday at the Trackers Bay Freestone camp, at 10635 Barnett Valley Road in Sebastopol, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, which posted news of the arrest on its Facebook page.
“Investigators obtained an arrest warrant and search warrant for Robles and his home,” then searched the home that day, according to the June 30 post from the sheriff’s office. “During the search, they learned that Robles is currently a camp counselor employed by Trackers Bay in Berkeley. They also discovered he is supervising and had access to juvenile campers in Sonoma County.”
Robles, who had worked at Trackers Bay for eight years, had similar access in Berkeley, the organization said shortly after publication in response to an inquiry from Berkeleyside. But Trackers has “a constant witness policy so that there are never any one-on-one interactions between adults and children,” said David Perry, a spokesperson for Trackers Bay. “That’s been standard operating procedure for years.”
Trackers said it had received no complaints “from any Trackers parents, staff, or students related to this matter.”
Scott Alonso, spokesperson for the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office, which oversaw the arrest, said the investigation into Robles began in early June with a cyber tip from a social networking website.
The DA’s office is part of the Silicon Valley Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which alerts local agencies when there are reports of crimes against children.
According to the Trackers Bay email to parents, the camp has numerous safety protocols in place “including mandatory background checks, continuous feedback, and open communication with parents and families.”
In the email, the camp emphasized to parents that there had been no conviction in the case, but said it was taking the allegation seriously.
“Trackers is deeply concerned about this matter, will remain transparent, and will continue to share factual information as it becomes available,” according to the email. Perry told Berkeleyside that authorities had not contacted Trackers or included Trackers “in any part of their investigation.”
Several parents of Trackers Bay campers asked Berkeleyside to report on the arrest. One of them said she is on the Trackers Bay email list but had received no information about the arrest.
Perry said the email went to 1,700 families in the Bay Area whose children attended camp in the past year, and that Trackers Bay planned to update parents Wednesday as to what it had learned.
After the arrest, Perry said, Trackers asked authorities for information about the investigation and had been informed there was no evidence to suggest “an in-person crime or any hands-on offense.”
The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office investigated Robles with the help of Homeland Security investigations agents, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office statement. The United States Secret Service National Computer Forensics Institute, Richmond Police Department and Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office also assisted in the investigation.
According to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Robles was booked into Martinez Jail on suspicion of possessing child pornography but was released on a citation a short time later on the same day.
No charges have been filed in the case, Alonso told Berkeleyside on Tuesday, and the investigation is ongoing. As a result, Robles has no scheduled court appearance at this time.
Authorities ask anyone with information about this case to call the Department of Homeland Security tip line at 866-347-2423 or the Sonoma County’s Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Unit at 707-565-8290. More information about missing and exploited children is available online at https://www.missingkids.org.
Note: Berkeleyside updated this story after publication with comments from Trackers Bay.