From the BSA's ineligble volunteer file on Curtis Knarich. Click image to view the full report.
[Updated at 4:20 p.m. ET]
PORTLAND, ORE. — Time and trauma have robbed John Buckland of many childhood memories, but he still vividly remembers the night police appeared at his family's home in the summer of 1984.
"They knocked while we were having dinner," recalls Buckland, who was 14 at the time.
The detectives at the front door were armed with lewd photos of boys they had confiscated from Curtis Knarich, Buckland's Boy Scouts troop leader.
"My picture was in those folders," he said. "He had taken pictures of me and tons of other victims."
The crimes occurred at Travis Air Force Base in California where the Buckland family was stationed. Knarich, then 24, was a sergeant and a volunteer assistant scoutmaster.
Months after police came to Buckland's door, Knarich pled guilty to sexually molesting him and 12 other boys. He was shipped off to Fort Leavenworth federal prison.
The Scouts quietly added Knarich to its secret list of ineligible volunteers, but apparently never contacted the Buckland family. Buckland supressed his abuse for nearly 30 years. (Buckland family photo)
"I was allowed to go through junior high, high school and all those years in my life without any kind of reaching out from them," said Buckland, who drifted off into drugs, crime and eventually his own prison sentence for armed robbery.
"The Boy Scout thing had been buried so deep and so low inside of me," Buckland, now 42, told Yahoo News. "It's the secrecy that kills people."
On Thursday, the Scouts' records on Knarich's expulsion will be a secret no more. Against the Scouts' wishes, the Oregon Supreme Court ordered 20 years of the so-called perversion files to be made public. Knarich is named in a 14-page file chronicling his crimes.
The Boy Scouts of America (BSA), one of the country's oldest and largest youth organizations, has kept the files since 1920 as an internal way of weeding out staff and volunteers accused of child sexual abuse. The records being released were the centerpiece of a 2010 landmark ruling against the Scouts in which an abuse victim (unrelated to the Buckland case) was awarded nearly $20 million.
The release includes documents on more than 1,200 accused perpetrators between 1965 and 1985 nationwide. The names of alleged victims and people who reported the incidents have been redacted. The Portland law firm responsible for disclosing records put the approximate 14,500 pages online at www.kellyclarkattorney.com, but that site was experiencing slowness as of Thursday afternoon.
Ineligible volunteer files are still maintained today. The BSA says they remain confidential to encourage victims to report abuse. Attorneys for Scout victims disagree.
"There's no reasonable argument that the Scouts can't make this public and let the public see that there is nothing to hide and we are doing things better," attorney Kelly Clark said at Thursday press conference.
The Scouts' 1984 file on Knarich was prompted by a Scouts leader who saw news of his arrest in a local newspaper. Curtis Knarich spent nearly 20 years in prison. (Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement)
"One of my assistant Scoutmasters has been indicted regarding illicit sex and making advances at children, which includes sodomy and indecent acts with minors," the troop official wrote in a July 1984 letter to BSA national headquarters. "This individual has also taken photographs of minors in various sexual situations."
Yahoo News reached Knarich at a Florida motel where he now lives.
"There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about the lives that I've ruined," he said.
Knarich served 12 years in a military prison and another seven in Florida after being convicted of fondling a 14-year-old boy. He disputes the state charges but says he takes full responsibility for what happened to Buckland and others 30 years ago.
"I was molesting children and that was wrong," said Knarich, now 52. "But I will say this - at that time I saw it as being sexually involved with my peers. I was very immature."
Knarich grew up in scouting and says he earned the coveted Eagle award while growing up in Florida. Despite being placed on the ineligible volunteer list in 1984, the ousted molester said local scouting officials repeatedly called him to volunteer at summer camps after he was released from federal prison.
"Un-freaking believable," attorney Clark said when told of the interview by Yahoo News.
BSA national spokesman Deron Smith said the ineligible volunteer files, "aren't perfect, and they were never meant to be. They were meant to be a barrier."
Knarich said he eventually informed the local leaders of his past.
"They had no idea," he said. "I went in and asked them to please stop contacting me."
He's now a registered offender in Florida and says he attends therapy regularly.
"I would kill myself before I reoffended," Knarich said while crying over the phone. "I will not do that to a child."
Yahoo News declined his request to not include his name in this story.
"I don't want to do anything to embarrass my family," he said. "I've put them through enough already."
Buckland, on the other hand, said it's an important part of his recovery to be identified by name as a victim.
"I want the Boy Scouts to know my name for once," said Buckland, who was known by his middle name, Mark, when he was younger. "I don't want to be an invisible case number anymore."
Buckland, who was pardoned in 2003 for crimes he committed, said therapy and making amends for his own mistakes in life have changed him. He's happily married, a new father, and proud of firefighting he did as a contractor in Iraq.
He explored a civil suit against the Scouts, but he's well beyond California's strict statute of limitations for filing. Meanwhile, a personal apology, he said, would be a good start.
"It's not about the money," Buckland said. "It's about principle. It's about integrity. It's about the very things they taught us when we were in Scouts."
Reuters/Reuters - Boy Scouts stand at attention during the Pledge of Allegiance before Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's town square campaign rally in Lancaster, Ohio October 12, 2012. REUTERS/Shannon …more Stapleton (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS USA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION) less
(AP) — Again and again, decade after decade, an array of authorities — police chiefs, prosecutors, pastors and local Boy Scout leaders among them — quietly shielded scoutmasters and others accused of molesting children, a newly opened trove of confidential papers shows.
At the time, those authorities justified their actions as necessary to protect the good name and good works of Scouting, a pillar of 20th century America. But as detailed in 14,500 pages of secret "perversion files" released Thursday by order of the Oregon Supreme Court, their maneuvers allowed sexual predators to go free while victims suffered in silence.
The files 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.
The allegations stretch across the country and to military bases overseas, from a small town in the Adirondacks to downtown Los Angeles.
At the news conference Thursday, Portland 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 Associated Press obtained copies of the files weeks ahead of Thursday's release and conducted an extensive review of them, but agreed not to publish the stories until the files were released. Clark was releasing the documents to the public online at www.kellyclarkattorney.com ; he said the website was operating slowly Thursday because so many people were trying to access it.
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.
Victims like three brothers, growing up in northeast Louisiana.
On the afternoon of Aug. 10, 1965, their distraught mother walked into the third floor of the Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office. A 31-year-old scoutmaster, she told the chief criminal deputy, had raped one of her sons and molested two others.
Six days later, the scoutmaster, an unemployed airplane mechanic, sat down in front of a microphone in the same station, said he understood his rights and confessed: He had sexually abused the woman's sons more than once.
"I don't know how to tell it," the man told a sheriff's deputy. "They just occurred — I don't know an explanation, why we done it or I done it or wanted to do it or anything else it just — an impulse I guess or something.
"As far as an explanation I just couldn't dig one up."
He wouldn't have to. Seven days later, the decision was made not to pursue charges against the scoutmaster.
The last sliver of hope for justice for the abuse of two teenagers and an 11-year-old boy slipped away in a confidential letter from a Louisiana Scouts executive to the organization's national personnel division in New Jersey.
"This subject and Scouts were not prosecuted," the executive wrote, "to save the name of Scouting."
In a statement on Thursday, Scouts spokesman Deron Smith said" ''There is nothing more important than the safety of our Scouts."
Smith said there have been times when Scouts' responses to sex abuse allegations were "plainly insufficient, inappropriate, or wrong" and the organization extends its "deepest and sincere apologies to victims and their families."
An Associated Press review of the files found that the story of these brothers and their scoutmaster, however horrendous, was not unique.
The files released Thursday were collected between 1959 and 1985, with a handful of others from later years. Some have been released previously, but others — those from prior to 1971, including the story of the three scouts in Ouachita Parish — have been made public for the first time.
The documents reveal that on many occasions the files succeeded in keeping pedophiles out of Scouting leadership positions — the reason why they were collected in the first place. But the files are also littered with horrific accounts of alleged pedophiles who were able to continue in Scouting because of pressure from community leaders and local Scouts officials.
The files also document other troubling patterns. There is little mention in the files of concern for the welfare of Scouts who were abused by their leaders, or what was done for the victims. But there are numerous documents showing compassion for alleged abusers, who were often times sent to psychiatrists or pastors to get help.
In 1972, a local Scouting executive beseeched national headquarters to drop the case against a suspected abuser because he was undergoing professional treatment and was personally taking steps to solve his problem. "If it don't stink, don't stir it," the local executive wrote.
Scouting's efforts to keep abusers out were often disorganized. There's at least one memo from a local Scouting executive pleading for better guidance on how to handle abuse allegations. Sometimes the pleading went the other way, with national headquarters begging local leaders for information on suspected abusers, and the locals dragging their feet.
In numerous instances, alleged abusers are kicked out of Scouting but show up in jobs where they are once again in authority positions dealing with youths.
The files also show Scouting volunteers serving in the military overseas, molesting American children living abroad and sometimes continuing to molest after returning to the states.
But one of the most startling revelations to come from the files is the frequency with which attempts to protect Scouts from molesters collapsed at the local level, at times in collusion with community leaders.
It happened when a local district attorney declined to prosecute two confessed offenders; when a three-judge panel included two men on the local Scouting executive board; when law enforcement sought to protect the name of Scouting and let an admitted child molester go free.
Their actions represent a stark betrayal, says Clark, who won the case that opened the files to public view. "It's kind of a deal. The deal is, our society will give you incredible status and respect, Norman Rockwell will paint pictures of you, and in exchange for that, you take care of our kids," Clark said. "That's the deal, incredible respect and privilege. But there was a worm in the apple."
The Louisiana case certainly contained all the essentials for a police investigation and, perhaps, a conviction: The scoutmaster admitted to raping a 17-year-old boy on a camping trip and otherwise sexually molesting two other boys; the victims corroborated his confession. But evidently, no charges were ever filed.
The man was let off with a warning that should he be found with young men in the future, he was subject to immediate incarceration at the state prison.
The man "was asked to leave the parish, and if he was caught around or near any boy or youth organization, he would be sent to state prison immediately," a Scouting executive wrote to national headquarters. "We are indeed sorry that Scouting was involved."
With the deadline to disclose the files looming, the Scouts in late September made public an internal review of the files and said they would look into past cases to see whether there were times when men they suspected of sex abuse should have been reported to police.
The files showed a "very low" incidence of abuse among Scout leaders, said psychiatrist Dr. Jennifer Warren, who conducted the review with a team of graduate students and served as an expert witness for the Scouts in the 2010 case that made the files public. Her review of the files didn't take into account the number of files destroyed on abusers who turned 75 years old or died, something she said would not have significantly affected the rate of abuse or her conclusions.
The rate of abuse among Scouts is the not the focus of their critics — it is, rather, their response to allegations of abuse. In the case of the files from 1965 to 1985, most salient is the complicity of local officials in concealing the abuse by Scouts leaders.
Warren told the AP such complicity "was simply quite a natural desire to want to be somewhat protective over (the BSA)."
Certain cases, well-detailed by the Scouts, illustrate how it happened.
In Newton, Kan., in 1961, the county attorney had what he needed for a prosecution: Two men were arrested and admitted that they had molested Scouts in their care.
One of the men said he held an all-night party at his house, during which he brought 10 boys, one by one, into a room where he committed, in his words, "immoral acts." The same man said he had molested Scouts on an outing two weeks prior to the interrogation.
But neither man was prosecuted. Once again, a powerful local official sought to preserve the name of Scouting.
The entire investigation, the county attorney wrote, was brought about with the cooperation of a local district Scouts executive, who was kept apprised of the investigation's progress into the men, who had affiliations with both the Scouts and the local YMCA.
"I came to the decision that to openly prosecute would cause great harm to the reputations of two organizations which we have involved here — the Boy Scouts of America and the local YMCA," he wrote in a letter to a Kansas Scouting executive.
He went on to say that the community would have to pay too great a price for the punishment of the two men. "The damage thusly done to these organizations would be serious and lasting," he wrote.
When cases against Scouts volunteers or executives went forward, locals often tried and sometimes managed to keep the organization's name out of court documents and the media, protecting a valuable brand.
In Johnstown, Pa., in August 1962, a married 25-year-old steel mill worker with a high school education pleaded guilty to "serious morals" violations involving Scouts.
The Scouting executive who served as both mayor and police chief made sure of one thing: The Scouting name was never brought up. It went beyond the mayor to the members of a three-judge panel, who also deemed it important to keep the Scouts' names out of the press.
"No mention of Scouting was involved in the case in as much as two of the three judges who pronounced sentence are members of our Executive Board," the Scouts executive wrote to the national personnel division.
In Rutland, Vt., in 1964, William J. Moreau pleaded guilty to "having lewd relations" with an 11-year-old Scout, according to a contemporary newspaper account. According to the files, the 11-year-old was one of a dozen Scouts who stayed overnight at Vermont's Camp Sunrise. The Scouts, as is demonstrated repeatedly in the files, talked to the parents about their concern for "the name of the Scouting movement" if charges were brought, but were rebuffed — the parents were insistent on filing charges.
Moreau, a 27-year-old insurance adjuster and assistant Scoutmaster, resigned his position, but a local prosecutor and the police department made sure the Scouting name was never publicly associated with the crime, despite the fact that the abuse was conducted by a Scoutmaster on Scouts at a Scout camp.
"The States Attorney with whom I talked late last night and the local police assure me they will do everything in their power to keep Scouting's name and Camp Sunrise out of this," a local Scouts executive wrote in a letter to the national council headquarters.
In newspaper clippings attached to the files detailing Moreau's charges and his plea, no mention of the Scouts is ever made.
Over the years, the mandatory reporting of suspicions of child abuse by certain professionals would take hold nationally. Each state had its own law, and the federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act passed in 1974.
The Scouts, however, wouldn't institute mandatory reporting for suspected child abuse until 2010. They did incorporate other measures, such as a "two-deep" requirement that children be accompanied by at least two adults at all times, and made strides in their efforts to combat pedophilia within their ranks.
According to an analysis of the Scouts' confidential files by Patrick Boyle, a journalist who was the first to expose about efforts by the BSA to hide the extent of sex abuse among Boy Scout leaders, the Scouts documented internally less than 50 cases per year of Scout abuse by adults until 1983, when the reports began to climb, peaking at nearly 200 in 1989.
Attitudes on child sex abuse began to change after the 1974 law, said University of Houston professor Monit Cheung, a former social worker who has authored a book on child sex abuse.
"Before 1974, you could talk to a social worker who could (then) talk to a molester and that could maybe stop abuse," Cheung said, noting that most abuse happens within families.
But mandatory reporting made the failure to report suspected abuse a crime.
"That's the change, that you're no longer hiding the facts of abuse," Cheung said.
The case of Timothy Bagshaw in State College, Pa., is illustrative of the changing national attitude to mandatory reporting. Bagshaw, a Scouts leader, was convicted of two counts of corruption of minors in 1985. But he wasn't the only one to face charges.
The Scouts learned of the abuse months before it was reported, and forced Bagshaw to resign at a meeting, but he wasn't reported to police. That failure was costly for Juanita Valley Council director Roger W. Rauch, who was charged with failure to notify authorities of suspected child abuse.
"I didn't know I was supposed to contact anyone. I felt it was the parents' responsibility," Rauch told the Centre Daily Times in 1984. "We acted very responsibly.
"I'm concerned that this not get blown out of proportion."
Reach reporter Nigel Duara on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/RSmBei
Associated Press writers Matt Sedensky in West Palm Beach, Fla.; Rebecca Boone in Boise, Idaho; and Shannon Dininny in Yakima, Wash., contributed to this report.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is preparing to execute Terrance
“Terry” Williams on October 3, 2012, in spite of staunch opposition to
his execution from the victim’s widow, five jurors from trial, child
advocates, former prosecutors and judges, faith leaders, mental health
professionals, law professors and others.
Join in asking Governor Corbett, the Board of Pardons, and District
Attorney Williams to spare Terrance Williams’ life. Sign the petition at
I urgently appeal to Governor Tom Corbett, the Pennsylvania Board of
Pardons, and District Attorney Seth Williams to spare Terrance Williams’
life and allow him to be sentenced to life without parole.
Throughout his childhood, Terry suffered prolonged violent physical
and sexual abuse from older males. Born into poverty with a violently
abusive mother and absent father, Terry faced abuse and neglect in his
home that made him vulnerable to sexual predators. He was first raped by
an older boy when he was only six years old, and he continued to suffer
sexual abuse for the next twelve years. Like too many other victims of
child sexual abuse, Terry received no counseling or support to help him
deal with the repeated traumas he endured; in fact, some of the people
who were supposed to help Terry preyed on him.
As a teenager, Terry became acquainted with two middle-aged men who
used their influence as a church leader and as a sports booster to get
access to young boys. These men sexually abused and brutally exploited
Terry. After years of suffering unimaginable horrors, when he was 17-
and 18-years old, Terry killed these two men – and now faces death.
Terry’s tragic history of abuse was never presented at trial. Because
of this, several jurors who sentenced him to death now support
commuting his sentence to life without parole. At the time of trial,
Terry was traumatized and ashamed of the violence he suffered, and his
lawyer did not investigate obvious signs of abuse. The jury thus did not
hear any evidence about the relentless abuse Terry faced, nor did they
know that the two men he killed were in fact his abusers.
Jurors have stated that that if they had known all the facts about
Terry's background and his abuse by the men he killed, they would not
have voted for death.
The widow of the man whose killing resulted in Terry’s death sentence
has forgiven Terry and does not want him to be executed. She has found
peace and closure and does not wish to see any more loss of life. The
victim’s widow has expressed herhope that Governor Corbett, the Board of
Pardons, and District Attorney Williams will show Terry mercy.
In addition to the victim’s widow and jurors, there has been an
unprecedented outpouring of support from prominent groups and
individuals across Pennsylvania. Child advocates, former prosecutors and
judges, faith leaders, mental health professionals, law professors and
others have publicly supported commuting Terry’s sentence to life
Terry is deeply remorseful for his actions and prays that the families of the men he killed can find peace.
You can read more about Terry's case, including the numerous letters in support of clemency, here: www.TerryWilliamsClemency.com
Join in asking Governor Corbett, the Board of Pardons, and District Attorney Williams to spare Terrance Williams’ life. Sign the petition at Change
Building Up Your Self-Esteem - Use these stepping stones
Stand and walk with good posture.
Take a strong commitment and a conscious effort to succeed in building your own self esteem.
The next time you make a mistake, be forgiving of yourself.
"selfish". Learn to love yourself and to take care of your needs
effectively. You can get your needs met and still have love in your
Take responsibility for your life and your well-being and
STOP taking responsibility for other people's lives. It's great to help
people, but they are still responsible for their own situations and
Spend more time with people who encourage you, and less time with people who discourage you.
Eat nourishing meals and exercise, and remind yourself that you are worth it.
As you make new choices, set out a plan and get a support partner.
Treat yourself with a warm bath, a massage or a good book. Treat yourself with deliberate acts of kindess
The Ten Commandments of Self-Esteem
Thou shalt not consort with people who make thee feel bad about thyself.
Thou shalt cease trying to make sense of crazy behaviour.
Thou shalt not keep company with those more dysfunctional than thyself.
Trust thy body all the days of thy life [ Thy mind doth fornicate with thee ].
Thou hast permission at all times to say "NO", to change thy mind, and to express thy true feelings.
What is not right for thee is not right for thy brethern.
Thou shalt not give beyond thine own capacity.
What thy brethern think of thee mattereth naught.
Wherever thou art, therein also is the party.
Thou shalt sing thine own praises all the days of thy life.
Posted with permission....I have been getting glimpses and the feelings that go with them of what went on inside when I was first abused. How the innocent joyful child died that moment, I can feel that deep pain I felt then the loneliness that came on me at that moment and the helplessness and fear.
It am being witness to the death of the child I was and it is not easy to take. Even at that young an age I wondered why what did I do wrong to be hurt like this why did God hate me and want me in hell. My parents will never love a dirty boy and all the boys will know I am dirty no good a bad boy. No one will ever want to be my friend again.
All that as it happened and I was trying to leave my body to avoid the horrible pain in my body and soul. That child died a horrible death and will never be back he has been dead to long. My life was stolen my joy buried my hopes crushed in one instant in one day I was never the same again. I can't save him I can only try and save me from the slow death that started so long ago.
If anyone ever wonders why it is hard to get over try and imagine how you would get over the death or your young innocent child how you could ever get over it. by adult male 50yrs old
Posted by permission...
I have been getting glimpses and the feelings that go with them of what went on inside when I was first abused. How the innocent joyful child died that moment, I can feel that deep pain I felt then the loneliness that came on me at that moment and the helplessness and fear. It am being witness to the death of the child I was and it is not easy to take. Even at that young an age I wondered why what did I do wrong to be hurt like this why did God hate me and want me in hell. My parents will never love a dirty boy and all the boys will know I am dirty no good a bad boy. No one will ever want to be my friend again. All that as it happened and I was trying to leave my body to avoid the horrible pain in my body and soul. That child died a horrible death and will never be back he has been dead to long. My life was stolen my joy buried my hopes crushed in one instant in one day I was never the same again. I can't save him I can only try and save me from the slow death that started so long ago. If anyone ever wonders why it is hard to get over try and imagine how you would get over the death or your young innocent child how you could ever get over it.