A Shawnee father said his son's alleged abuse by a Boy Scouts leader has remained unresolved for three decades because the organization has "stonewalled" his pursuit for more information.
In December of 1979, the father the 9-year-old boy wrote to Kansas City Scouting leaders with a serious accusation: his son had been sexually assaulted twice during a summer camp that year.
“My son told me about the incident just a few days ago because he said he was scared and terribly embarrassed,” the father wrote.
The father said his son described a big man with a beard in his early to mid 30s. The Scout leader was in charge of teaching kids how to handle canoes.
Several months after the camp, the father said his son gathered the courage to tell him about the abuse.
The devastated father heard stories about being dragged into the bushes and molested. In a canoe, the boy said the leader threatened to throw him in the lake if he didn't perform certain sex acts.
"It was awful. It was gut-wrenching," the father told 41 Action News. "I was very, very angry and I really wanted to do something about it immediately."
The boy did not know the man’s name. However, the father demanded the Scouts turn over the Scout staffer’s name so he could file a police report against him.
In an internal memo titled, “Possible Trouble,” Scout Executive Dan Wheatcroft sought advice from the national headquarters. Officials there asked Wheatcroft to gather more detailed information about the alleged sexual assaults.
Responding to the father in February of 1980, Wheatcroft wrote, “The additional information we are requesting, I am sure, will not only be treated in the strictest of confidence, but will assist greatly in taking appropriate action.”
The file gave no indication as to what transpired after that communication. But it’s clear the Scouts knew the accused molester’s name. After all, the letter had ended up in the man’s file.
Three decades later, the father—still living in the same Shawnee home as 1979—received a knock on the door. An investigative reporter from 41 Action News explained why he was there and handed the letter to the father.
After taking the time to study the letter, the father took a deep breath and said, “We were never able to find out this man’s name.”
The father continued: “This still haunts my son. I’m the only one he’s ever told. The things he had to endure still impact him today."
The father is now in possession of the file that contains the name of the accused molester. He has not shared the man’s identity with his son.
The accused molester currently lives in Platte City and has no criminal record.
Three decades later, the father and son are weighing their legal options and discussing the situation with an attorney. It is unclear if the statute of limitations would allow the son to pursue criminal action.
“I just want the man prosecuted. I want him in prison,” said the father. “I feel very, very grateful that you came by my house because I think we're finally going to find the answer I've been looking for all these years."