Kids claim Hartford man promised Super Bowl trip, abandoned them
HARTFORD - The leader of a Christian fundraising group was arrested Saturday in Pennsylvania after ten children accused him of abandoning them while they solicited donations, police said.
Rafeal Andrews, 39, was charged with four counts each of reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of a child.
Five of the children were found at a Bethlehem shopping center where they called police. Five others were found soliciting donations door-to-door in the neighboring community of Hanover Township.
A website identifies Andrews as the CEO of Christian Programs for Inner City Children, or CPIC International. The group based in Hartford appears to use door-to-door soliciting as a fundraiser and character building exercise for young volunteers.
Reached at their home in Hartford, Andrews wife said they had not spoken since Saturday and she did not know what went wrong.
"Well, he works with kids, that's what he does," Ides Andrews said. "I don’t know what happened. I couldn’t tell you. I have no idea"
The children told police Andrews promised them a trip to a Super Bowl party at MetLife Stadium. Andrews' wife did not know if that was promise he was equipped to keep.
"I talked to him and he said he was going to the super bowl with the kids," she said.
Asked if he had a way to get inside the exclusive and tickets-only area around the stadium, she said "I'm sure he probably did."
Andrews was being held Monday night on $150,000 bail.