The owner of the Hudson River Rafting Company has been indicted on five misdemeanor charges accusing him of endangering clients on whitewater trips.
The defendant, Patrick Cunningham, pleaded not guilty to the charges last week in Hamilton County Court, according to the office of District Attorney James Curry.
Cunningham is charged with two counts of reckless endangerment in the second degree and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
The charges stem from incidents on August 10 and August 12.
The first count of reckless endangerment alleges that on August 10 Cunningham sent clients down the Indian and Hudson rivers in overloaded rafts and at a time when the water was too low for safe travel. The customers included “children and counselors from Camp Morasha.”
The three counts of endangering the welfare of a child name three girls who took the trip that day. In each case, the indictment alleges that the girl had to paddle the raft while “physically exhausted and after the defendant had failed to provide sufficient food or drink.”
The second count of reckless endangerment alleges that on August 12 Cunningham persuaded Robert and Savannah Carson to undertake the trip in an inflatable kayak even though they had no kayaking or whitewater experience. The indictment says they received no instructions on the safe use of the kayaks or the dangers of whitewater.
As we reported in September, Cunningham and one of his guides, Heath Bromley, were initially charged last summer before the case went to the grand jury. Charges against Bromley have since been dropped.
In that article, Cunningham insisted he had broken no laws. Cunningham has been running Hudson River Rafting for more than three decades.