Man accused of urinating on statue of child cancer victim: "A huge mistake"

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Monday, May 20, 2019
Man accused of urinating on statue of child: "A huge mistake"
Man accused of urinating on statue of child: "A huge mistake" | Watch this report from Action News at 4:30pm on May 20, 2019.

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. (WPVI) -- A New Jersey man accused of urinating on a statue of a child cancer victim, in an incident that was captured on video, is asking for forgiveness and hopes to one day "make this right."

Bryan Bellace, 23, of Egg Harbor, spoke by phone to ABC News on Monday.

"Not much of an excuse. It was a big mistake I made. I was intoxicated. I didn't know what I was doing at the time. When I came to my senses the next day, I realized I made a huge mistake," he said.

"I wish I could take it all back and make things right, but it happened," he said. "The only thing I can do is move forward from here."

The statue is a memorial for 9-year-old Christian Clopp, who passed away in 2012 from brain cancer. The statue in his honor was dedicated at a playground on Old Egg Harbor Road in Mays Landing.

Bellace said he has reached out to the family of Christian Clopp, hoping to apologize.

Man arrested for urinating on memorial in Mays Landing: Katie Katro reports on Action News at 4 a.m., May 20, 2019

"I can ask for forgiveness from the family. I've reached out and I apologized for what I've done. This should have never happened," Bellace said.

Bellace told ABC News he doesn't remember the incident.

"To be honest with you, I don't even know how I got to the park. I don't remember being at the park. I got way too intoxicated for that," he said.

Bellace was arrested and charged with lewdness, disorderly conduct, criminal mischief, and having an open alcoholic beverage in a park.

His friend, 23-year-old Daniel Flippen, who allegedly recorded the video and posted it to social media, was charged with having an open alcoholic beverage in a park.

Both Bellace and Flippen were released on a summons.

"I just have to put one foot in front of the other and try to move on from this and maybe ask for forgiveness and do what I can in my power to make this right," said Bellace.

After learning of the incident, some people in the community came to the park to help clean and disinfect Christian's memorial.

Desmond Walker and Paul Burgan of Mays Landing were among them.

Walker and Burgan, who said they both work as commissioners for the local football club, said they were outraged when they saw the video online and immediately thought they needed to clean the memorial.

"As a single parent of two healthy kids, I couldn't imagine what that family is going through. I got really choked up," said Walker.

The two men said they spent part of their Sunday with their gloves on to clean the memorial.

"It was a disgusting sight," said Burgan, from Mays Landing.

Mark Clopp released the following statement on his Facebook page after the incident:

"At the end of the day, the good outweighed and overwhelmed the bad. This is what Christian did during his life. He brought people together and he has accomplished that again. Perhaps the playground will be beautified, maybe expanded as a result. It doesn't matter, as long as it is enjoyed by thousands of children in the future. If we let anger prevail, we've lost the battle. Thanks again, everyone, for coming together and showing how great our community can be, especially in a time of political controversy. It reminds us what is important in life. Thank you again."

In the video posted online, there's an open beer can on the memorial.

There's a sign at the park that states there's no alcohol allowed in the park.