In recent years, the BSA has added a number of youth protection measures, which the organization touts as a national model.
These include criminal background checks of all staff members and volunteers; child abuse prevention training; and mandatory reporting of all suspected abuse to authorities, which was implemented in 2010.
41 Action News did not review any ineligible files from the past two decades—the available documents end in 1991—but some of the later instances from that time period show a greater emphasis on reporting questionable behavior.
A file about David J. Nelson includes a stack of handwritten notes from other Scout leaders and volunteers in 1990. They describe the 35-year-old giving backrubs, offering beer, making sexual innuendos, and suggesting skinny dipping to teens half his age.
In 1990, one Scout’s account was reported to the state’s Division of Family Services. The investigator found “reason to suspect (the Scout) was fondled on the buttocks, in a sexually implied manner.”
Nelson received his termination letter almost immediately. It does not appear he was charged for any crimes after that incident.
But two decades later, court records show Nelson is sitting in a Kansas prison. In 2011, he was convicted of aggravated indecent solicitation of a child in Johnson County.
“Unfortunately, that doesn’t surprise me at all,” said one of the Scout workers who reported Nelson in 1990, when reached by phone from his Florida home.