Boy Scouts 'blacklist' includes men from Pennsylvania
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A prominent University of Pittsburgh professor is among more than 40 former Boy Scouts of America troop leaders with connections to Western Pennsylvania who were blacklisted by the group for child sexual abuse.
The scoutmasters, including longtime social worker and professor Rodger L. Beatty, were among the more than 5,000 people identified in the group's Boy Scout "ineligible volunteer files," also known as the "perversion files," that the Boy Scouts have released under order by the Oregon Supreme Court; many of them were posted online Thursday by Portland attorney Kelly Clark. Their release came two years after a jury considered them as evidence in a landmark sex-abuse lawsuit against the group, which Mr. Clark won.
The released files were compiled between 1947 and January 2005 as the Boy Scouts struggled to document abuse and then block alleged abusers from participating in any part of the national organization.
But even though some of those scoutmasters confessed to abusing children -- in many cases, members of the troop they led -- the files show the Scouts had a spotty record of reporting victims' accusations to the police. About a third of the incidents went unreported, according to the group's own estimates.
In multiple instances, an individual accused of abuse by a boy in one unit also was alleged to have abused Scouts in other troops, records show.
The Boy Scouts' national president, Wayne Perry, has acknowledged that incidents of abuse have occurred and that some were mishandled by the Scouts.
"There have been instances where people misused their positions in Scouting to abuse children, and in certain cases, our response to these incidents and our efforts to protect youth were plainly insufficient, inappropriate, or wrong," Mr. Perry said in a statement. "Where those involved in Scouting failed to protect, or worse, inflicted harm on children, we extend our deepest and sincere apologies to victims and their families."
National Scout leaders say they have strengthened youth protection policies since the 1980s, requiring staff training and criminal background checks on paid employees and adult volunteers, and prohibiting scoutmasters from being alone with a scout.
But for some victims, apologies and policy changes do nothing to erase the memories of the sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of leaders they trusted. Carl Maxwell Jr., of Newport, Perry County, said he was one of five boys, ages 13 and 14, molested repeatedly by Mr. Beatty on mattresses the scoutmaster had spread across the floor of his front room and in tents on camping trips.
"All of us boys -- two of them's dead now -- but all of us were scarred, and scarred for life, by that. I'm sorry, but that's not something a 13-year-old boy puts out of his mind," Mr. Maxwell told the Los Angeles Times. "And he got away with that."
Mr. Maxwell, now 50 and still living in Newport, did not return a call for comment.
Mr. Beatty resigned from the Scouts after the boys told their parents, who complained to Mr. Beatty's superiors. But even though all five boys wrote detailed statements of how Mr. Beatty allegedly molested and raped them on multiple occasions -- and even though Mr. Beatty's file clearly states he was expelled for "substantiated reports" -- the abuse was never reported to the police.
Mr. Beatty, then a 29-year-old county drug and alcohol abuse counselor, went on to build a successful career, working several stints at the state Department of Health beginning in 1978 and helping found an AIDS assistance group in Harrisburg in 1982.
He earned his master's degree in social work from Penn State University in 1983, his doctorate from Pitt in 1997, and is a founding faculty member at Pitt of the master's degree in public health in infectious disease management, intervention and community practice and also the LGBT Center for Health Research, according to Mr. Beatty's biography on Pitt's website. His research focuses on AIDS prevention, particularly as it relates to substance abuse and sexual minorities, according to the university.
Mr. Beatty, however, has been in a hospital intensive care unit since Sept. 28, when he suffered a massive stroke. His family asked David Korman, a Pitt colleague and friend of 20 years, to answer questions on his behalf.
"I'm just shocked by this," Mr. Korman said of the allegations against Mr. Beatty, now 66. "His reputation on the campus is truly outstanding. ... I think everyone here will be stunned."
Mr. Korman said Mr. Beatty is unable to communicate.
"The only person able to answer the allegations is unable to answer," he said.
Records show that the blacklisted scoutmasters -- about half of whom are identified only by an ID number and the number of their unit -- sometimes were accused by scouts in more than one unit. One scoutmaster serving in 1992 in Irwin and North Huntingdon, for instance, had files opened for incidents in three different troops that year.
And while that former member wasn't identified by name, other banned scoutmasters in the region, from Pittsburgh and Beaver Falls to Greensburg and beyond, not only were identified but had their cases described in the once-confidential files. Among them:
• Craig Dexter Choate, as a 25-year-old auditor and accountant for Price Waterhouse in Pittsburgh, resigned from his position in 1963 as scoutmaster of Troop 304 in Pittsburgh after admitting to his pastor and two of his superiors in the Scouts "that he had homosexual relations with nine boys in his troop," according to his file. Nothing in his record indicates that activity was reported to the police.
• John Charles Cook, as a 45-year-old barber from Uniontown, Fayette, was assistant scoutmaster of Troop 676 when he was convicted of sodomizing a 12-year-old Uniontown boy in 1965. Mr. Cook, who was expelled by the Scouts, was fined $250 and placed on three years probation, according to Scouts records.
• Charles Wayne Garris -- then a 21-year-old grocery clerk, education student and Little League baseball coach from Indiana Township -- had been serving as an assistant scoutmaster of Troop 518 in Pittsburgh and scoutmaster of Troop 29 in Indiana when in 1964 he confessed to "homosexual activity" with some of the boys in that troop, according to his file. He was allowed to resign, and no information in the record suggests the matter was reported to the police.
Harry Patrick Holtzman, as a 25-year-old from Johnstown, Cambria County, had been serving as scoutmaster of three local troops when he pleaded guilty in Cambria County Court in August 1962 to a "serious morals charge concerning a 15-year-old boy," according to a press account of the time from The Tribune-Democrat. Mr. Holtzman was sentenced to 6 months to 2 years in county jail and resigned from the Scouts, according to his file.
Frank Napier, a naturalist working in Frick Park for the city of Pittsburgh, was "convicted by the Pittsburgh Morals Court in a case involving 3 boys," for which he paid a $50 fine, according to his file. He resigned from the Scouts in 1959.
Robert Updyke, then a 25-year-old steel mill worker and miner from Johnstown, confirmed the suspicions of parents in the Johnstown troop he had led when he pleaded guilty in Cambria County Court to eight counts of "serious morals charges" involving minor boys, and received a county jail term of 2 to 5 years, according to a 1962 press account from The Tribune-Democrat. He had resigned from his position as scoutmaster of Troop 186 in Johnstown in 1960, "following a number of reports by parents that his actions during camping trips was suspicious," according to his Scouts file.
First Published October 22, 2012 12:00 am