New documents from a lawsuit over Boy Scout leaders who were suspected of sexually abusing children include 76 accused people from Pennsylvania.
The suspected abuse in the documents released Thursday took place from 1959 to the 1980s. An Oregon court ordered their release.
The Boy Scouts have issued an apology, saying that "in certain cases, our response to these incidents and our efforts to protect youth were plainly insufficient, inappropriate, or wrong. Where those involved in Scouting failed to protect, or worse, inflicted harm on children, we extend our deepest apologies to victims and their families."
The organization said that of the 1,247 files released Thursday, police were involved in nearly two-thirds of the cases, and information in the files was known to the public in 58 percent of the cases.
But a review of the documents by Pennsylvania newspapers and by The Associated Press found that many community members, including judges, pastors and journalists, helped keep the abuse allegations quiet over the decades.
For example, Pittsburgh leaders were concerned in 1970 when a mother accused a Scoutmaster of molesting her son on a campout, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Officials sought advice from an unnamed local judge about how to keep the matter out of the courts and appeared more concerned about the accused volunteer leaking the story than they did about the fate of the boy.
"May go to the press?? News media??" asked an unnamed investigator in handwritten notes attached to the file. Their uncertainty stemmed from the fact that the accused Scout leader was a reporter for an unidentified publication.
Thursday's release of files was the second this month. The first included a handful of cases from the Harrisburg region, the Patriot-News reported. Two involved Mechanicsburg leaders and described instances where they were believed to have provided alcohol to Scouts before making sexual advances during the 1980s. Another involved a female leader in Annville who had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old camp staff member.
In Johnstown, in August 1962, a married 25-year-old steel mill worker 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.
The AP found that in numerous cases, abuse suspects were kicked out of Scouting but showed up in jobs where they were once again in authority positions dealing with kids.
Additional names with local ties have been identified on a list made public by a court order from the Boy Scouts of America.
The Sun-Gazette reported one local name on the list - Owen Ronald George, who was affiliated with a defunct city Troop No. 171 - in Thursday's edition.
John Brennan, local Scout executive at the Susquehanna Council, 815 Northway Road, said he did not have additional information on the man and confirmed that the troop does not exist today.
Other area men on the so-called "perversion list" maintained by the Boy Scouts include Alvie Hobert Fetzer Jr. and Joseph S. Ettwein, both of Williamsport, and Gordon R. Barrett Jr., of Lock Haven, according to the released documents.
Fetzer, who was also affiliated with Troop 171, resigned in September 1969 due to "morals offenses." Fetzer pleaded guilty to sodomy and corruption of minors charges against a 14-year-old boy and similar charges against a 12-year-old boy, according to documents.
Ettwein, who was affiliated with a Troop No. 6, resigned as a Scoutmaster in January 1965. No specific charges were listed against him, but a document states that Ettwein was in the professional care of a city pastor at Calvary Methodist Church and that a parent was available to testify against him.
Barrett Jr. attempted to gain affiliation with a Troop No. 60 in Lock Haven after serving as an assistant Scoutmaster in Albuquerque, N.M., according to records, but was dismissed and put in the Boy Scout's file because he was "discharged from (the) Army as a homosexual."
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