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***BREAKING NEWS*** Church: Incident was misunderstanding

July 26, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — Officials at Charlton Baptist Church are now saying an incident at its Vacation Bible School program on Friday was "a misunderstanding," and not an attempted child abduction, as they first had stated.

In an e-mail dated Saturday, July 24, one day after the alleged incident, Senior Pastor Steve Nordbye said it was "merely a case of mistaken identity."

The incident occurred when a man reportedly approached a child at the school.

In a memo sent home to parents on Friday, the program director, Kathleen Berg, wrote: "This afternoon a stranger came to the church and approached a child. The child quickly went to an adult and the police were notified ..."

Berg told a reporter the man tried to lure him to his vehicle. He was described as a white male in his 40s with white hair, a mustache a goatee and wearing a dark-colored cowboy hat.

In his e-mail the next day, however, Nordbye said the man was actually a church member and he and the child knew one another. The child, he said, did not recognize the man because he was wearing a hat.

"Although it was an unsettling afternoon, it was encouraging that everyone [including the child] did what they were supposed to do ... It was a good reminder that even though our measures at times seem a little inconvenient, there is a good reason for them."

Stay tuned to www.theheartofmassachusetts.com for more on this developing story. The complete report will be in the Southbridge Evening News on Wednesday, July 28.

Stonebridge Press
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