A Kansas City-area Boy Scouts leader who was kicked out of the organization for suspected child molesting in 1973 is facing similar accusations in another state four decades later.
Larry W. Strain, 70, is charged with four counts of child enticement in Otero County, New Mexico. He was never charged in the Kansas City area.
Court documents obtained by 41 Action News indicate Strain exhibited the same “grooming behavior” with young boys that is documented in a secret file kept by one of the nation’s largest youth organizations.
Those so-called “perversion files” were the focus of an extensive 41 Action News investigation in 2012 . The documents detail examples of known and suspected sexual abuse, intended as a measure to keep child molesters out of the Boy Scouts.
Strain’s file included letters from parents and Scouting leaders, detailing graphic depictions of alleged abuse. A handwritten letter by a 13-year-old boy described his experience at Strain’s farm in northern Missouri.
“I thought that if I didn’t do what he wanted, he might brutally hit or maybe even kill me,” the letter said.
Despite all the corroborating statements, there was no indication anyone notified law enforcement . The main goal seemed to be removing Strain from all Scouting activities.
Forty years later, Strain is now facing criminal charges for his behavior with young boys at his rural New Mexico home.
Strain met children during his volunteer role at an area space museum, later buying them gifts and hosting them at his house, according to court documents.
Authorities say an 11-year-old boy spent several nights at Strain’s home. According to charging documents, the boy said Strain slept in the same bed, rubbed his back and was “creepy.”
The boy also told an investigator that he didn’t tell anyone because he was scared and believed Strain was a child molester.
Strain’s brother, who lives nearby, also allegedly told a sheriff’s deputy that he “feared his brother had fallen back into his past and that he was going to do something sexual… if he had not already done something.”
However, when 41 Action News reached the brother by phone, he told a much different story.
“It seems that people try to make mountains out of mole hills. They love dirty laundry,” John Strain said. “Okay, so he likes young people. So what’s the big deal with that? As long as he doesn’t do anything untoward.”
Strain added: “There’s no story here. Just drop it and let it go.”
But try telling that to one of the alleged victims from the 1970s. 41 Action News contacted one of the people whose accusations are documented in the secret file to let him know about the new charges in New Mexico.
From his home in Pennsylvania, the man expressed relief the law had finally caught up with the accused molester.
“It was disturbing the pattern was so similar,” the man said after reviewing the court documents. “He’s a serial pedophile and I think people should know that. I don’t believe he’s ever stopped and he’s not going to stop.”
After first learning about Strain’s secret file in 2012, the man tried to pursue criminal charges. However, after speaking with law enforcement and prosecutors in Missouri, he learned the statute of limitations had expired for his case.
Court documents say Strain refused to answer questions about the allegations when interviewed by an Otero County sheriff’s deputy. He is out of jail on $10,000 bond and scheduled to be back in court on September 15.
The alleged victim in Pennsylvania hopes there will finally be a sense of justice.
“There has to be a way to make people aware what this guy’s done and you should not be letting him near your kids,” he said.
41 Action News discovered Strain was living in New Mexico and sent the Boys Scouts’ file to the sheriff’s department in 2012. To date, nobody from Otero County has responded to 41 Action News phone calls or emails, so it remains unclear if the file played any role in the criminal investigation.