Feedback: Some NNY Cases In Boy Scout 'Perversion Files'
A trove of some 14,500 pages from the Boy Scouts' so-called "perversion files" were made public Thursday, with a handful from the north country.
7 News has identified six northern New York cases dating back to 1961.
"They weren't keeping secrets," said Scott Armstrong of the Longhouse Council, "they were keeping records of people with inappropriate behavior."
The local cases include:
- John H. Brown of Russell. According to a 1984 newspaper report, Brown was a Scoutmaster who admitted to having sexual contact with a 13 year old member of his troop. Brown resigned from his post, and according to the file released Thursday, the Scouts took steps to make sure he was in their records, in case he ever tried to register with the Boy Scouts again.
- William Oman Jr. of Boonville. Back in 1969, he was 'committee chairman' of Troop 13 in Boonville, and pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of a child. According to the file released Thursday, Oman was a science teacher in Boonville's school system, and told authorities he planned to leave the area and seek help.
While the file shows the Boy Scouts took steps to make sure Oman could never be part of the organization again, the file also shows the Boy Scouts were very concerned about publicity.
A letter from a Boy Scout executive notes the state police commander and investigating officers "are active Scouters...and alerted us to all details will in advance of the arrest and were helpful in avoiding public knowledge of the problem."
- Alexander Bero of Bombay, who served as a Scoutmaster for a troop in Hogansburg. Bero pleaded guilty in 1967 to a charge of second degree assault with intent to commit sodomy. A state police letter notes "All the charges involved different young boys, who were under the age of 16, some of whom were connected with Scout troops in Malone."
As with the other cases, the file shows the Boy Scouts made an effort to get Bero's name in their files to prevent him from ever being part of the organization again.
A letter from a Scout executive notes "Hope there are no more of these around the Adirondack Council."
- A 'Camp Drum' soldier who served as a Scoutmaster on post in the mid-1960s. According to his file, the soldier was 48 and had as a 'closest friend' a 16 year old boy. During a conversation, the soldier told the boy "I know how you can make some money. I have a Polaroid camera and all you have to do is take your clothes off and I'll take your picture. I can sell them for a lot of money to an outfit down south."
The Boy Scouts placed the soldier's records into the organization's 'confidential file,' for people who were banned from Scouting.
7 News is not identifying the soldier because the public record does not reflect any criminal charges.
- A Waddington man who served as a Scout leader in the early 1980s. The man was charged with second degree sexual abuse - a newspaper report from 1984 said the case "involved a young child."
The man was placed in the 'confidential file,' but the record notes the case never went to trial. Because it's not clear whether the man was ever convicted of a crime, 7 News is not listing his name.
- A Tupper Lake man who served as a Scoutmaster. He pleaded guilty in 1961 to disorderly conduct and the record notes "he must consult a psychiatrist at the Sunmount Veterans Hospital and take necessary treatment and attempt to overcome his homosexual tendencies."
However, there is nothing in the file released Thursday to suggest the man had inappropriate contact with children.
That didn't stop a Scout executive from noting in a letter "It seems we have a den of these fellows up here. This is the third one within a year."
The Boy Scouts say a lot has changed over the years and that Scouting is now one of the safest environments for youth.
The full database can be found here.
Saturday, May 25, 2013, Watertown, NY
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