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2013 Jan 31: Coach charged with lewdness

Written by Deborah M. Marko
John Kinka gave alcohol to two underage foreign exchange students and exposed himself, police allege.
John Kinka gave alcohol to two underage foreign exchange students and exposed himself, police allege.
VINELAND — A volunteer Vineland High School assistant girls’ basketball coach was arrested Tuesday on charges of lewdness and providing alcohol to two underage foreign exchange students.

John Kinka, 49, of the 2100 block of East Chestnut Avenue met the 17-year-old male students through his role as a volunteer with the ASSE International foreign exchange program.

Police were alerted Monday and launched an investigation that determined Kinka exposed himself to one of the teens and gave them vodka.

Two students, one from France and the other from Czech Republic, are participating in the ASSE program and placed with a host family in Delaware, according to Bill Gustafson, an ASSE spokesman.

Kinka has been a volunteer with international organization since the 2007-08 school year working as an area representative, Gustafson said. He has helped to recruit host families and held orientations, and was the contact for participating students, checking in with them on a regular basis.

During that time, Kinka has served as an organization representative to 29 students. ASSE reports he had an “exemplary record” and passed three annual criminal background checks.

The alleged incident unfolded when the host family dropped off the two teens at Kinka’s residence Friday because they were planning to attend a representative training conference in Absecon.

The teens were to stay at Kinka’s place for the weekend, then be brought back to Delaware on Sunday. The students were scheduled to attend the conference to provide testimonials about their experiences with the foreign exchange program, Gustafson said.

When the teens returned to Kinka’s residence Saturday night, police said, he provided vodka and played drinking games with them.

“After consuming alcohol with the juveniles, Kinka exposed his genitals to one of them and requested to see him naked,” according to a police report. “Kinka then unsuccessfully attempted to pull down the juvenile’s pants.”

The students fled Kinka’s residence and were spotted walking around the area by an off-duty police officer about 4 a.m., police said. The students were taken to police headquarters and their host family was contacted to pick them up.

At that time, police said, the students did not report the lewd behavior because they were concerned they would be removed from the foreign exchange program. However, ASSE was alerted about the allegations and notified police Monday.

Kinka was arrested Tuesday and provided no statement to investigators, police said. He was released on a summons.

After learning of the incident, Kinka was removed as an ASSE volunteer, Gustafson said.

Gustafson said the matter would be reported to the U.S. State Department, which regulates the foreign exchange program. ASSE also will reach out to sending offices to contact previous exchange students who were represented by Kinka, Gustafson said.

The two students have been assigned a new rep, Gustafson said. The program rules prohibit students from consuming alcohol but, in this case, Gustafson said, it appeared there was adult encouragement so the students will not be dismissed from the program.

The Vineland Board of Education has removed Kinka from his volunteer assistant coach position. He could not be reached for comment.