Salem

Man accused of trying to touch children at rec facility

Man accused of trying to touch children at rec facility »Play Video

SALEM, Ore. – Police are investigating a man suspected of approaching and trying to sexually touch children at a recreational facility in Salem.

Samuel H. Gardiner, 22, of Salem was issued a citation for attempted harassment after being questioned by detectives.

A Salem Police Department news release said Gardiner "is believed to frequent places where children are present" and try to sexually touch them.

Investigators said Gardiner hasn’t abused any children, but worry he may cross the line in the future.

The latest incident took place at the Salvation Army Kroc Center in Salem, which has a water park. It wasn't clear when the allegations happened.

Kroc Center officials are cooperating with police on the investigation.

The rec center has security restrictions in place, one of which is running names of visitors through an online national predator database.Gardiner was not listed in the database, officials said.

The center also has large windows, so you can see into every room and annual staff training on how to detect suspicious behavior.

“The salvation army takes children and vulnerable adult safety very seriously so all of our policy and procedures come out of that,” said Julie Matovich of the Salvation Army Kroc Center.

The investigation is ongoing, and police urge parents to keep a close eye on their children and talk with them about staying away from strangers.

Reporter Erica Nochlin contributed to this report.