Ocean City mayor announces immediate actions amid investigation into beach patrol

OCEAN CITY, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Mayor Jay Gillian has announced immediate actions amid an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment involving the Ocean City Beach Patrol.

Effective immediately, Aide to the Mayor Michael Allegretto will oversee operations of the Ocean City Beach Patrol.

The allegations surfaced last week after an Instagram account with the user name "ocbp_predators" was created. The account includes dozens of anonymous allegations against unnamed members of the Ocean City Beach Patrol.

The creator of the "ocbp_predators" account says this all started after a female lifeguard asked for help.

"A lot of these people are telling me that they're coming forward with their story for the first time, or it's a story from 5, 10, 15 years ago," the person said on condition of anonymity.

Action News has confirmed that Mark Jamieson will remain chief of the Ocean City Beach Patrol.

SEE ALSO: Authorities investigating sexual harassment allegations involving Ocean City Beach Patrol

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The Cape May County Prosecutor's Office is investigating allegations of "predatory and sexually harassing behavior among members of the Ocean City Beach Patrol," according to Mayor Jay Gillian.

While the investigation is still underway, one of Allegretto's first roles will be to find an independent contractor to oversee the day-to-day operations.

"His charge will be to retain an experienced labor attorney with a strong background in employment investigations to ensure the city's policies and procedures are sufficient, correctly implemented and properly communicated; and to engage an independent contractor to oversee the day-to-day operations of the patrol while the investigation is conducted," said Gillian.

"Going forward, the city will take a number of steps to ensure that all our city team members work in a safe environment," Gillian added.

The Cape May County Prosecutor's Office is continuing to investigate the allegations.

"If there is anybody who is guilty of doing any of these allegations, I hope that they are held to the fullest extent of the law," said Councilman Jody Levchuk.

Gillian is urging any witnesses or victims to come forward.

"I understand that it may be difficult for victims or witnesses to come forward, but I urge anyone with information to contact the Prosecutor's Office at 609-465-1135, report it anonymously through the Cape May County Sheriff's Tip Line at cmcsheriff.net (click on "anonymous tip"), or call Cape May County Crime Stoppers at 609-889-3597," said the mayor.

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