The Boy Scouts of America expelled several of its volunteers and leaders in Anne Arundel County over the last 40 years after receiving reports of inappropriate behavior with boys, according to files released to the public last week.
More than 1,200 confidential files released by an attorney in Portland, OR, include thousands of pages outlining details about “ineligible volunteers” accused of sexual molestation and similar offenses. The attorney, Kelly Clark, released the files after a judge in July ruled that the public could see them.
The cases include allegations of sexual abuse by a Webelos leader in Odenton in 1974, as well as cases involving leaders in Arnold, Severna Park, Glen Burnie and Linthicum. Patch has not published the names of the accused, because they have not been charged with crimes.
Officials from the Boy Scouts of America’s national office acknowledged that some leaders abused boys, and that the organization did not do enough to protect Scouts. But it said it has since installed tough safeguards to prevent abuse from happening.
“Where those involved in Scouting failed to protect, or worse, inflicted harm on children, we extend our deepest apologies to victims and their families,” the Boy Scouts President Wayne Perry said in a statement. “While it is difficult to understand or explain individuals’ actions from many decades ago, today Scouting is a leader among youth serving organizations in preventing child abuse.”
Unidentified Accusers in Glen Burnie, Linthicum
One incident involving an unidentified accuser from 1992 was reported in Glen Burnie. Three incidents are reported from nearby Linthicum—one alleging an incident with an unidentified accuser in 1992, and two others in 2001 alleging separate incidents with another unidentified accuser.
Two Allegations in Odenton
In the Odenton case, the parents of two Scouts separately alleged that the 27-year-old Webelos leader had touched the boys’ genitals. One mother claimed that the leader slept with her son on a camping trip.
Files indicate that the leader eventually became Scoutmaster of the troop, but was removed when the allegations surfaced.
In an “open letter” to the parents of the Boy Scout troop in 1974, the man said that he was not given a chance to defend himself.
“I’m not ashamed to say I have Scouts who mean more to me than life itself,” he wrote. “I love the Scouts with whom I have had the pleasure of working. And when I saw ten years of belief in an ideal going up in smoke—well, it’s a little hard to take.”
Records show that the man moved to New York after being removed as a Scout leader and was denied the chance to be a Cub Scout leader at another den two years later.
Photos of Boys in Arnold
In 1974, a 19-year-old assistant Scoutmaster with Troop 727 in Arnold was accused of having nude photographs of boys in his troop.
Under the guise of teaching the Scouts about photography to earn a merit badge, the man persuaded them to take nude photographs of themselves, according to the case file.
In the report, the man admitted to the act, but said he was not responsible for his actions because he was "under the influence of the devil."
When confronted with the claims, the man resigned from his position. However, he then traveled to other states attempting to enroll as a leader in other Boy Scout troops, but was denied because of the incident in Arnold.
A case file from 1963 relates to an assistant Scoutmaster in Troop 59 in Severna Park, who was convicted of molesting a 4-year-old and was subsequently banned from the Scouts.
Manny Fonseca, the director of field services for the Boy Scouts’ Baltimore Area Council, said the organization has tough “Youth Protection” rules that govern behavior of leaders and the response to abuse complaints.
“We’re very diligent about it, because the safety of our youth is our number one priority,” he said.
All leaders must to go through specialized training every two years, and parents and Scouts are asked to review the policy when joining. Scout policy forbids any leader from being alone with a boy.
Fonseca said that if an abuse claim is filed, the accused party is immediately removed and the allegation is reported to police. The accused person has the right to appeal a removal.
“We don’t investigate. We act on the report,” he said. “Our role is that if someone reports it to us, we act on it right away. We error on the side of caution.”