An Army sergeant accused of molesting boys at Fort Gordon in the 1970s and a couple from Dearing indicted in the 1980s on statutory rape and sodomy charges are among 11 area Boy Scout leaders whose names were placed in so-called “perversion files” by the Boy Scouts of America.
Documents detailing accusations against the former leaders were among more than 14,500 pages of confidential files compiled by the Boy Scouts from 1959 to 1985 and made public Thursday by order of the Oregon Supreme Court. More files exist after 1985, but the names and specific allegations in those cases were not covered by the court’s order.
The documents record allegations of sexual abuse in Scout units across the nation. According to an extensive database of cases compiled by the Los Angeles Times, more than 5,000 adults were banned from the Boy Scouts between 1947 and 2005. The Times database includes “summary data” for cases after 1985 that identifies the scouting unit and year of the case, but does not provide names of those placed in the confidential files.
In all, 32 leaders in South Carolina and 97 in Georgia were placed in the confidential files of “ineligible volunteers” because of sexual allegations, according to the database.
The only case that provided detailed allegations in Richmond County is from 1971, on a 24-year-old Army sergeant, William A. Depuy. Depuy, stationed at Fort Gordon and scoutmaster of Troop 99, was accused of molesting three Scouts on overnight trips to Camp Linwood Hayne.
Each Scout provided written statements saying that they awoke in the night to find Depuy fondling them. Depuy denied the allegations but resigned from the Scouts in August 1971.
Jack Moore, a then-Scout executive for the Georgia-Carolina Council, forwarded information about Depuy to the national office to have his name placed on the list of ineligible volunteers.
According to a December 1971 letter, Moore states that a “Fort Gordon Military Review Board” found Depuy “not guilty as charged,” primarily because the parents of the boys who made the accusations would not allow them to testify.
Depuy asked to be reinstated as the scoutmaster, but was denied. According to the documents, Depuy later went on to become a scoutmaster with a unit in the Great Salt Lake Council in Utah. However, when he tried to register again with Boy Scouts while stationed in Germany in 1976, he ran into trouble.
Although he had recommendations from local Scout authorities, the national Scout office advised that he be registered only in a probationary status. Ultimately, the Transatlantic Council declined to register Depuy as a leader for its program.
A second local case involves a couple from Dearing, who were banned from the Georgia-Carolina Council in 1984 after being charged with statutory rape and sodomy in incidents involving teenage girls – not Scouts.
Frederick A. Moore and Kathleen Moore were apprehended in Louisiana after fleeing the state, according to published reports in The Augusta Chronicle. Frederick Moore was found guilty and served 12 years on the sodomy charge. He was released from prison in 1996. The charges against Kathleen Moore were never prosecuted, according to the documents. Neither has ever reapplied for a leadership position with the Scouts.
Georgia-Carolina Council Scout Executive Jeff Schwab said that since he came to the council in 2006, there have been no allegations against Scout leaders and no new confidential files created.
He said he has no knowledge of cases generated in the council prior to his tenure but believes the proper reporting procedures were followed. He said there may have been mistakes in the past, but the days when allegations of sexual abuse were handled quietly have long passed.
“The Boy Scouts of America has gone to great lengths to improve youth protection and is now recognized a leader in the field of youth protection,” Schwab said.
He said all adult leaders must submit to criminal background checks and undergo youth protection training before they can work with Scouts. Scout policies also prohibit adults from sharing tents with children other than their own, among other precautions, he said.
“In all cases we require two-deep leadership,” he said. “I feel deeply and very strongly that every child that is involved in Scouting should be protected.”
Schwab said he will follow the instruction of the national office should any of the files on local unit leaders need to be forwarded to the authorities.
The files released Thursday are a window on a much larger collection of documents the Boy Scouts of America began collecting soon after their founding in 1910. The files, kept at Boy Scout headquarters in Texas, consist of memos from local and national Scout executives, handwritten letters from victims and their parents and newspaper clippings about legal cases. The files contain details about proven molesters, but also unsubstantiated allegations.
At the news conference Thursday, Portland, Ore., attorney Kelly Clark blasted the Boy Scouts for their continuing legal battles to try to keep the full trove of files secret.
“You do not keep secrets hidden about dangers to children,” said Clark, who in 2010 won a landmark lawsuit against the Boy Scouts on behalf of a plaintiff who was molested by an assistant scoutmaster in the 1980s.
The files were shown to a jury in a 2010 Oregon civil suit that the Scouts lost, and the Oregon Supreme Court ruled the files should be made public. After months of objections and redactions, the Scouts and Clark released them.
In many instances – more than a third, according to the Scouts’ own count – police weren’t told about the reports of abuse. And even when they were, sometimes local law enforcement still did nothing, seeking to protect the name of Scouting over their victims.
The documents are available to the public online at www.kellyclarkattorney.com.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.