Retired PMSD elementary school custodian Roger Umphrey’s Facebook profile photo.

STROUDSBURG – Stroud Area Regional Police are investigating Roger Umphrey, 60, of East Stroudsburg, after the former custodian for the Pocono Mountain School District was recorded on videotape admitting that he had arranged to meet a 15-year-old boy for sex.

 

 

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Earlier this week Umphrey, who worked as a day shift custodian for the Pocono Mountain School District for 34 years, retiring in July 2021, was caught by a self-styled “predator catcher” vigilante from the Wilkes Barre area.  The vigilante told police he has a number of social media profiles used to lure in adults seeking to have sex with underaged boys. 

Swiftwater Elementary Center, where a suspected pedophile worked for at least ten years (Boro Photo)

In Umphrey’s case, the vigilante told police he pretended to be a 15-year old Stroudsburg area boy.  On the video, taken at the Stroudsburg meet-up location the two had agreed to,  Umphrey admitted that he was expecting to meet a 15-year-old boy and had arranged to have oral sex with him.  Several times in the video, Umphrey recanted the text messages, saying he intended to only tell the “boy”, “what were you thinking.” Prompted by the vigilante to call a friend and confess, Humphrey can be heard telling the friend he was going “to take advantage” of the youth he thought he was meeting.

 

Stroudsburg police were videoed responding to the vigilante’s call. They interviewed Umphrey, obtained his identification information, and released him.  Authorities explained that there was no actual minor involved in the transaction and therefore no crime.  According to law enforcement officials, a vigilante undercover “sting” such as this cannot be used to prosecute a person, even if they admit their intentions, as Umphrey did.

Umphrey is shown in this YouTube video posted earlier this week in which he admits to having traveled to Stroudsburg thinking he was meeting an underage boy for sex. (Boro screengrab)

In the video, Umphrey tells the vigilante that he was a retired school custodian, “But I never touched a kid.”  When the vigilante asks, “How do I know that?” Umphrey just buries his face in his hands.

 

SARPD Chief Jennifer Lyon told The Boro & Towne News that her department has launched an investigation of Umphrey, but would offer no other comment.  Reached at home, Umphrey said only that he hoped to keep the matter “out of the papers” and refused additional comment.

 

The PMSD has not responded to requests for information about Umphrey’s work for the district, what other schools he may have worked in, or the exact period of time that he worked for the district.  They have also not responded to a request for information about what, if any, plans they had to alert parents of children who attended the schools Umphrey worked at while school was in session.

 

Umphrey also recently worked for the Pocono YMCA.  YMCA CEO Scott Peckins immediately responded to our request for comment and information, telling us that Umphrey was a part-time employee in the Fitness Center. Immediately on learning of the incident, they terminated Umphrey and banned him from the YMCA property and events. Peckins said that Umphrey would not have had “access to children in our childcare program.” Peckins also said the Y was in the process of preparing a letter to its members informing them of the incident.

 

In a written statement, Peckins went on to emphasize the work the Pocono YMCA does to ensure the safety of the children it serves.  “At the Pocono YMCA, the safety and well-being of children in our care always has been and always will be a top priority. We stand committed to providing a safe environment to every person who enters our doors, most importantly children who are entrusted to our care. We have a series of measures in place to keep kids safe.” 

 

He said, among other things, Pocono YMCA conducts National Sex Offender Registry checks when hired and reoccurring daily along with our member database screening, prohibits staff from being alone with a child where they cannot be observed by others, restricts staff contact with children outside of YMCA programs, and completes a comprehensive child abuse prevention self-assessment through Praesidium every two years. 

 

“The Pocono YMCA takes pride in providing safe places for children to grow in skills and self-confidence,” Peckins said. “We will continue reviewing our staff and volunteer training policies to ensure they align with best-in-class practices to help prevent any incident like this from happening in the future.”

 

While Pocono Mountain School District public relations employee Wendy Frable did not confirm Umphrey’s employment or provide his employment details, she did complain that we took a picture of the front of SEC (when no children were present at the front of the building).

 

A review of publicly available records shows that Umphrey began working as a custodian for the district in 1987, first at Clear Run Intermediate. In 2006 he was transferred to Pocono Mountain Academy in the West Junior High School. Sometime prior to 2016 he was transferred to SEC, where he was working until July this year. Persons interested in the investigation or with information may contact the Stroudsburg Area Regional Police at (570) 421-6800.

 

This story will be updated as additional information becomes available.

{This story was updated 11/11/21 5:30 pm to include the information about Umphrey’s tenure with the PMSD, which was obtained through a review of the district’s board meeting minutes.}

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