BREWER, Maine — As someone who has been active in the Boy Scouts of America for much of his life — including a stint as president of the Katahdin Area Council — Daniel Lee said Friday that he was taken aback to learn that thousands of Boy Scouts of America files detailing thousands of incidents of proven and suspected child abuse and molestation included 46 cases from Maine.
“Everybody in Scouting knew of the Oregon case,” he said. After Thursday’s release of a Los Angeles Times database offering the public a look into the Boy Scouts of America’s files, “I said, ‘Wow, they have files in Maine?’”
Lee, who also has served on the Katahdin Area Council’s executive board and as its vice president for administration, and is a Life Scout himself, said he has never laid eyes on such files or contributed to one and did not know of anyone who has. He also said he didn’t know who in the organization would have access to the files.
About 50 people and at least 38 communities in Maine were listed in the Times database, which contains records of incidents of suspected or proven child abuse or molestation involving Boy Scouts of America members.
On Thursday, the Bangor Daily News confirmed the names of three Mainers named on the blacklist. On Friday, the names of four more people who were placed on the list were confirmed.
The Boy Scouts of America files cover 1,247 cases of suspected child molestation or abuse nationwide from 1965 through 1985. The Los Angeles Times added those to previously amassed files from 1947 to 2005 to form a database of more than 5,000 cases.
A timeline of Boy Scouts of America’s youth protection efforts posted on its website, however, shows that as far back as 1929, the organization began “cross-referencing all adult volunteers against a list of ‘ineligible volunteers’ maintained at its national headquarters.” This list contained the names of “individuals deemed by the BSA as not having the moral, emotional, or character values for membership in the BSA.”
The database was augmented Thursday by the court-ordered release of Boy Scouts of America files used to keep records of people blacklisted by the organization for suspected or proven child abuse and sexual offenses.
“You know, I’ll just tell you that it’s a little surprising to me that people are making this such an issue,” Lee said Friday.
Noting that the files at issue date as far back as 1947, Lee said documenting incidents of suspected or proven abuse or molestation “seems like a reasonable thing to do when you don’t have computers.”
Furthermore, he said, more than two-thirds of the cases involved the police.
“Why would you not keep a file on someone you don’t want back? That seems reasonable to me,” he said.
“Will this tarnish the image of the Boy Scouts? I think that would be unfortunate because of all the good it does. Again, what’s the scandal here?”
Lee said Boy Scouts of America goes to great lengths to protect its youth.
“They do more in Scouting than we do in public schools,” said Lee, who is also Brewer’s school superintendent. “That’s why it’s so sad to see this.”
“Scouting is very clear about this. This isn’t about protecting the organization. It’s about protecting the child,” Lee said. “The Scouting brand is too important to be tarnished by this kind of thing.”
According to Lee, prospective Boy Scouts of America employees and volunteers undergo a rigorous vetting process that includes, among other things, criminal background checks, interviewing character references and required annual youth protection training.
Other steps Boy Scouts of America takes to ensure the safety of children include mandatory reporting of all suspicions of abuse to the proper authorities, requiring that Scouts and adult leaders have separate accommodations when camping or on outings, and requiring that adults respect youths’ privacy. For coed overnight activities, including family events, both male and female adult leaders must be present, Lee said, citing Boy Scouts of America policy.
The Boy Scouts of America also has a ban on one-on-one contact between adults and Scouts at any time and requires “two-deep leadership” on all outings, which Lee said means that two adults must be present on all trips and outings.
“What that means is [that as an adult] you are never alone with a Scout. You are always in full view of others.”
The Boy Scouts of America began putting youth protection measures into place in 1911, a year after it was founded.
“You can’t get near a kid without taking the training,” said Lee, who now serves on the Katahdin Area Council’s executive board as the past president.
“We also provide training for Scouts 11 and up so they know if they are being groomed,” he said.
On Thursday, the Bangor Daily News confirmed that three of the Maine cases — originating from Casco, Hallowell and Westbrook — involved men who were denied registration and permanently banned from the Boy Scouts of America:
• William Boyd Brown, Westbrook, 1977: Brown was listed as a 34-year-old married man working as a reserve police officer and a counselor for the University of Maine in Portland. Documents show disagreement about whether to register him as a probationary Scoutmaster despite a 1977 conviction in Cumberland County for fondling a 14-year-old girl. He received a 90-day suspended sentence and one year of probation.
• Fred A. Cram, Casco, 1984: Cram, 32, was convicted of unlawful sexual contact in Cumberland County Superior Court in December 1983 for an incident in which “he picked up some youngsters to go to camp, but ended up in a motel with them,” according to official Boy Scouts of America executive correspondence. He was given a two-year prison sentence with all but 120 days suspended.
• Alfred J. Conrad, Augusta, 1984: Conrad received a five-year prison sentence for a morals and sodomy charge in 1982, the Boy Scouts of America documents said. He had not been officially registered with the Pine Tree Council since 1979.
On Friday, the names of four more people placed on the blacklist were confirmed:
• Harold E. Bailey, Bucksport, 1978: Bailey, 51 and single, was listed as a retired U.S. Air Force veteran employed by St. Regis Paper Co. Boy Scouts of America documents state that Bailey resigned as his troop’s Scoutmaster in April 1988 “because of alleged homosexual conduct with several members of the troop.” Court documents show that Bailey was convicted in November 1978 of unlawful sexual contact, which is a Class C felony, and sexual abuse of a minor. He was sentenced to one year in jail for the offenses.
• Gene Vincent Graves, Mars Hill, 1964: Graves is listed as a 29-year-old married man and father of a preschool-aged son. His file contains court documents that show he was convicted of illegal possession of obscene literature for an incident that occurred in May 1964. He was fined $150 and sentenced to 30 days in jail. He filed an appeal but his Boy Scouts of America file did not include information about the final outcome.
Graves also was charged with “indecent liberties” in April and in May of 1964. No information about the final disposition of either charge was contained in the file.
• David J. Brunette, Kittery, 1983: Brunette, a 39-year-old unmarried man and a Scoutmaster, was placed on the list after Boy Scouts of America officials learned he had been convicted of four misdemeanors in New Hampshire for which he received a fine and a three-month jail sentence, with one month suspended, and that he was appealing the sentence. They also learned Brunette had been charged with endangering the welfare of a child in Maine.
The Maine incident, for which he was indicted, occurred in September 1982 in Kittery. Court documents state that Brunette gave a 13-year-old boy alcohol to drink and engaged in a sexual act with him. Court documents from New Hampshire stated that Brunette stayed in a motel room with a 14-year-old boy during two trips in that state. During one of the trips, he gave the boy wine to drink. During the other, he masturbated in front of the youth “on two or more occasions.”
• Frederick Maitland, Cumberland, 1983: Boy Scouts of America documents show that Maitland, 51, was asked to serve as Scoutmaster of a Falmouth troop but withdrew because he felt it was best not to serve in that position “because some people may have a misconception of the incident published in the newspaper in Lowell, Mass.” The incident involved a charge that he engaged in “an unnatural act and lewdness” with a minor for which he was arraigned. The file did not contain information about the outcome of the case.
None of the four men is listed on the state of Maine’s sex offender registry, nor were the three whose names were released Thursday.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, issued a statement Friday urging police and prosecutors to scour the list and beg others to step forward.
“This is the first time a nationwide organization has been forced by brave victims and wise judges to disgorge their secrets about proven, admitted and credibly accused child sex offenders,” said David Clohessy, director of SNAP, a support group that also has members who were victims in other settings or institutions, including Boy Scouts of America.
“Many of these crimes happened years ago, of course. But many of those who committed and concealed them are still around and walking free,” said Barbara Dorris, SNAP’s outreach director.
“Law enforcement officials should use their skills, resources and ‘bully pulpits’ to urge victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to come forward immediately so that at least some of these wrongdoers can be prosecuted.”
“We applaud these brave men who found the courage to step forward, reveal their abuse and take legal action to help themselves and others. Virtually everything we know about the abuse and the cover-ups in Scouting have been because of the victims not Scouting officials,” said Dorris.
BDN writers Andrew Neff and Nick McCrea and online editor Will Davis contributed to this report.
Correction: An earlier version of this story reported that five more Maine names had been confirmed on the Boy Scouts list. The fifth name was removed from this story due to inadequate documentation of that case.