State police have fielded several phone calls from concerned parents this week after reporting that rape charges were lodged against a man with a leadership role in a local unit of the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps.
State police earlier this week announced that David Santana, 32, of Amsterdam, was charged with two counts of second-degree rape, one count of second-degree criminal sexual act and a count of endangering the welfare of a child.
At the time of his arrest, Santana was serving as director of the Mohawk Valley Battalion of the Sea Cadets.
The organization coordinates programs for youth aged 10 to 17 with the goal of introducing them to naval life, according to its Web site.
Cadets in the program meet for drills two Saturdays each month, and they also host drills at nearby military bases and reserve centers, according to the Web site.
The local battalion operates out of office space on East Main Street donated by Centro Civico of Amsterdam. It’s one of 13 local units in New York state.
Centro Civico Deputy Director of Operations Nicolas Morales said people in the community organization were shocked to learn of the allegations.
“This is an individual who, as far as we were concerned, we could trust,” Morales said.
“This took the entire community by surprise,” Morales said.
Morales confirmed that Santana served as a student counselor for the Liberty Partnership Program, but he said it was about two years ago.
Upon learning Santana is accused of fostering a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old child, Morales said officials at Centro Civico took action to sever any ties Santana had with the organization.
Morales said at this point the charges are allegations, but said “whatever the case is, we need to separate ourself from him.”
State Police Investigator Wayne Matice on Thursday said he’s received several telephone calls from concerned parents wanting to confirm Santana was indeed the leader of the local Sea Cadets.
Matice said Santana is a U.S. Army veteran who serves as a reservist in the National Guard. “I know his commanding unit has been advised,” Matice said.
There have been no additional allegations against Santana since news broke of his arrests, Matice said.
A new leader, Robert Bedell Jr., was installed for the Mohawk Valley Battalion, Matice said.
Bedell could not be reached for information Thursday. An automatic reply from his e-mail stated he was in Naval Seabee training at Camp Clark in Watertown.