Scout fallout prompts Utah officials to ensure investigation of every sex abuse allegation

Oct 19 2012 - 9:15pm

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Roy Police Chief Greg Whinham
Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings
Roy Police Chief Greg Whinham
Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings

OGDEN -- After the release of secret files kept by the Boy Scouts of America that detail accounts of sexual abuse within the organization, Top of Utah law enforcement officials say they aggressively investigate any allegation of such abuse, no matter who is accused or who is making the accusation.

On Thursday, more than 14,000 pages of files discussing allegations of sexual abuse in Scout troops across the country were released by Portland, Ore., attorney Kelly Clark.

The files were shown to a jury in a 2010 Oregon civil suit that the Boy Scouts lost, and the Oregon Supreme Court ordered that they be made public.

The files, which can be seen on Clark's website www.kellyclarkattorney.com, had previously been kept confidential at Boy Scout headquarters in Texas. They detail specific incidents of child sexual abuse at the hands of scoutmasters.

In some incidents -- like a 1965 case in Louisiana, where a scoutmaster confessed his sexual abuse to police and yet no charges were ever filed -- law enforcement officials and other authorities looked the other way.

But according to Clark's database, such behavior doesn't appear to have occurred in Utah.

Only three Utah cases can be found among the Boy Scout files Clark has released, and all of those cases resulted in convictions.

The Los Angeles Times has built a searchable database that includes a vast number of files, including some from more recent years that are not part of Clark's release.

In the Times database, 22 cases are listed as having occurred in the Top of Utah between 1976 and 2004.

But those files list nothing beyond a year and a city where the case occurred, so it's impossible to tell how many of those cases resulted in charges or convictions or how many of them were even reported to police.

Roy Police Chief Greg Whinham said he looked at the Times database and was perplexed by the lack of information it offered.

"I can't speak for any other law enforcement agency around the country, or even here locally, but I can say that, as long as I've been chief, there has never been a case of sexual abuse in Roy that wasn't dealt with thoroughly," said Whinham, adding he has been chief for 11 years.

"We don't care if it involves a scoutmaster or anyone else. Our job is not to protect the good name of some organization, it's to protect the public."

Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings said he has confidence in the agencies he works with to act appropriately when dealing with allegations of sexual abuse.

"These kinds of decisions are purely evidence-based and evidence-driven," he said.

"Law enforcement doesn't care if it's a scoutmaster or anyone else. Allegations of sexual abuse are all treated in the same manner. It doesn't matter who makes the claim or who the claim is made against, every effort is made to ensure that justice is served."

Information from The Associated Press is contained in this article.

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