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Detroit – A West Bloomfield Township summer camp counselor convicted of filming prepubescent boys in a summer camp locker room apparently overdosed on drugs Wednesday, one day before the start of a 10-year federal prison sentence.

Matthew Kuppe was taken into custody afterward and was hauled into federal court Friday wearing hospital scrubs and bandages covering his arms.

Circumstances surrounding Kuppe were shrouded in mystery Friday. Lawyers and a federal magistrate judge huddled in secrecy before Kuppe was turned over to the U.S. Marshals Service.

His lawyer Michael Rex refused to say whether Kuppe, 22, tried to kill himself. It was unclear what type of drugs were involved but Rex said his client is taking six medications.

“I can’t talk about it,” Rex said outside the courtroom.

Unsealed court records indicate Kuppe was treated for a drug overdose Wednesday and was unresponsive after being found by his family. He was hospitalized, an arrest warrant was issued and Kuppe was taken into federal custody.

“Any time a young man tries to commit suicide, it’s a very sad event but the parents are grateful he’s actually in custody now,” said William Seikaly, a lawyer representing the three victims’ families. “It has been a nightmare for them the last 60 days in which they have had to worry about whether they or their children would run into Mr. Kuppe somewhere in the community.”

Kuppe sat throughout the hearing Friday in green medical scrubs. He mouthed “I love you” to his parents.

Kuppe was arrested after failing to surrender Thursday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Stafford said.

The hearing Friday came two months after U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn sentenced Kuppe to a mandatory 10 years in federal prison, even though Cohn said he didn’t deserve it.

Kuppe was not taken into custody immediately and allowed to surrender at a later date.

At the time, the judge told Kuppe he no longer had to wear a GPS tether and could leave his home until reporting to prison – a move that angered parents of the summer camp victims.

Cohn criticized a plea deal reached between federal prosecutors that left no room for a lesser sentence for Kuppe. Cohn also faulted prosecutors for treating Kuppe as a child molester even though there was no evidence the counselor sexually assaulted any of the three male victims.

“This case does not represent one of the government’s finest hours ...” Cohn said during the April 11 sentencing.

The sentence came eight months after Kuppe pleaded guilty to distributing child pornography in a case that prosecutors called every parent’s worst nightmare involving children abused during a summer rite of passage.

The plea deal, which includes seven years of supervised release, spared Kuppe from trial and the possibility of being convicted of producing child pornography, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison.

Kuppe was convicted of filming boys at the Jewish Community Center two years ago and posting the photos on a Russian website.

At sentencing, Kuppe said the footage he shot of three children ages 5 and 6 followed years of “confusing and unwanted thoughts.”

“I was struggling with myself,” Kuppe said. “One thing I know for sure is that I am a different person than 17 months ago. Nothing like this will ever happen again.”

rsnell@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2486

Twitter: @robertsnellnews

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