T he director of the Whitehall Recreation Center has resigned and is facing criminal charges following an incident in which a child was struck with a projectile from an air powered gun.
Daniel Welch, 52, of Whitehall was arrested and charged with second degree harassment and endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor.
Welch is accused of shooting a 13 year-old child in the buttocks with a projectile from an air-powered rifle on Oct. 25 at the Rec. Center.
Whitehall Police Chief Matt Dickinson described the gun as an air powered rifle that shoots plastic pellet like projectiles.
The parent’s child lodged a formal complaint with Supervisor Richard “Geezer” Gordon following the incident and the matter was handed over to the Whitehall Police Department.
The child isn’t believed to have suffered any serious injuries but did suffer a welt on his buttocks.
After receiving the complaint, Gordon gave Welch the option of being suspended without pay or resigning. Welch choose to resign.
“It’s up to the courts now,” Gordon said.
Welch was arraigned last Monday and released to appear at a later date.
Reached for comment Monday, Welch said the incident was unintentional.
“It was an accident. I would never hurt a kid intentionally,” he said, declining further comment until after the a court hearing.
A retired cop, Welch has been an active member of the community and heavily involved with youth activities. He worked for a period of time as the safety officer at the Whitehall Central School and ran for a spot on the village board of trustees last winter.
He has been the Rec. Center director for a little less than a year and by all accounts was popular among the kids who frequented the center. He oversaw and organized several programs at the Center this past summer and was hoping to create an ice skating rink this winter.
Town councilman Richard LaChapelle, who oversees the Recreation Center as one of his duties said Rec. Center volunteer Jack Hoagland is filling in for Welch until a new director can be found.