Friday, March 19, 2010

Lawsuit: Boy Scouts covered up sex abuse scandal

Posted: 9:07 AM, March 19, 2010

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Boy Scouts of America has long kept an extensive archive of secret documents that chronicle the sexual abuse of young boys by Scout leaders over the years.

The "perversion files," a nickname the Boy Scouts are said to have used for the documents, have rarely been seen by the public, but that could all change in the coming weeks in an Oregon courtroom.

The lawyer for a man who was molested in the 1980s by a Scout leader has obtained about 1,000 Boy Scouts sex files and is expected to release some of them at a trial that began Wednesday. The lawyer says the files show how the Boy Scouts have covered up abuse for decades.

The trial is significant because the files could offer a rare window into how the Boy Scouts have responded to sex abuse by Scout leaders. The only other time the documents are believed to have been presented at a trial was in the 1980s in Virginia.

At the start of the Oregon trial, attorney Kelly Clark recited the Boy Scout oath and the promise to obey Scout law to be "trustworthy." Then he presented six boxes of documents that he said will show "how the Boy Scouts of America broke that oath."

He held up file folder after file folder he said contained reports of abuse from around the country, telling the jury the efforts to keep them secret may have actually set back efforts to prevent child abuse nationally.

"The Boy Scouts of America ignored clear warning signs that Boy Scouts were being abused," Clark said.

Charles Smith, attorney for the national Boy Scouts, said in his own opening statement the files were kept under wraps because they "were replete with confidential information."

Smith told the jury the files helped national scouting leaders weed out sex offenders, especially repeat offenders who may have changed names or moved in order to join another local scouting organization.

"They were trying to do the right thing by trying to track these folks," Smith said.

Clark is seeking $14 million in damages on behalf of a 37-year-old man who was sexually molested in the early 1980s in Portland by an assistant Scoutmaster, Timur Dykes.

Clark said the victim suffered mental health problems, bad grades in school, drug use, anxiety, difficulty maintaining relationships and lost several jobs over the years because of the abuse.

Dykes was convicted three times between 1983 and 1994 of sexually abusing boys, most of them Scouts.

Although there have been dozens of lawsuits against the organization over sex abuse allegations, judges for the most part have either denied requests for the files or the lawsuits have been settled before they went to trial.

The Boy Scouts had fought to keep the files being used in the Portland trial confidential. But they lost a pretrial legal battle when the Oregon Supreme Court rejected their argument that opening the files could damage the lives and reputations of people not a party to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also named the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because the Mormons acted as a charter organization, or sponsor, for the local Boy Scouts troop that included the victim. But the church has settled its portion of the case.

The Portland trial comes as the Boy Scouts are marking their 100th anniversary.

"They spent a century building the Boy Scout brand," said Patrick Boyle, author of a book about sex abuse in the Boy Scouts. "It's one of the most respected organizations in the world."

The trial "can only erode what they have been doing for 100 years," he said.

The Portland case centers on whether the Boy Scouts of America did enough to protect boys from Dykes.

The Mormon bishop who also served as head of the Scout troop, Gordon McEwen, confronted Dykes after receiving a report of abuse by the mother of one boy in the troop in January 1983.

In a video deposition played for the jury, the bishop said Dykes admitted abusing 17 boys.

But McEwen said he contacted the parents of all 17 boys and the boys themselves, and none would confirm any abuse.

Dykes was arrested in 1983 and pleaded guilty to attempted sexual abuse, received probation and was ordered to stay away from children.

Clark told the jury Dykes continued with his scouting activities until he was arrested in July 1984 during a routine traffic stop while he was driving a van full of Scouts on a camping trip.

A spokesman for the Boy Scouts of America at its headquarters in Irving, Texas, said in a statement the organization cannot comment on details of the case. But it has worked hard on awareness and prevention efforts, including background checks.

"Unfortunately, child abuse is a societal problem and there is no fail-safe method for screening out abusers," Deron Smith said.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Prescription Drug Abuse Widespread in Las Vegas

I got news for Las Vegas. It is not a local problem AT ALL. More people are addicted and die each year of prescription drug abuse than all of the illegal drugs used in the United States combined.

LAS VEGAS -- Robbers targeted a Las Vegas pharmacy on Monday, getting away with thousands of dollars in prescription medication. Experts say the incident is indicative of an already serious problem in Southern Nevada: prescription drug abuse.

"Prescription drugs are a huge problem in our state, second only to marijuana in terms of substances of abuse," Las Vegas Recovery Center Medical Director Dr. Mel Pohl said. "We're talking mainly about prescription pain killers. Second is anti-anxiety drugs like Valium, and the third is stimulant drugs." Pohl says deaths related to prescription drug abuse have skyrocketed in recent years. "That correlates with the increased number of prescriptions being written and increased abuse of these drugs over time," he said.

Agencies like the Nevada Prescription Drug Task Force are trying to fight the problem. The task force was formed more than 10 years ago. It tracks prescription drug sales through a statewide database. Every physician in Nevada has access to that database, so they can work together to fight the problem. "(A physician) can do a query (to ensure a) patient may or may not be getting that prescription from somewhere else," task force member John Hunt said. "The intent is to try and help these individuals."

Hunt says, despite the state's efforts, the problem of prescription drug abuse is widespread. "I would be more worried about being in an accident and being hit by someone who was on a prescription drug than someone who was drinking alcohol," he said.

"(The) fact of the matter is that these are very addicting drugs. People become habitual and physically dependent on them. Their lives spin out of control," Dr. Pohl said. "The solution is (to) look at your drug use and stop the use. Get some help. Get some professional help."

Experts say most of the abusers are ages 18 to 25. They often get their medication from the medicine cabinets of family members. That is why experts urge people to properly dispose of their medications when they no longer need them.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Apparent Danger - A Murderous MegaChurch Pastor

In July of 1926, the pastor of America’s first megachurch shot an unarmed man to death in his church office. The preacher, who already had a well-deserved notorious reputation, was indicted for murder and faced death in the Texas electric chair.

It may be the most famous story you have never heard.

Using more than 6,000 pages of newspaper articles, court records, and a variety of other published works, author, minister, and Townhall columnist David Stokes vividly recounts the story of the fundamentalist movement’s most colorful and controversial figure—J. Frank Norris.

The book is called, “Apparent Danger: The Pastor of America’s First Megachurch and the Texas Murder Trial of the Decade in the 1920s.”

From his pulpit at First Baptist Church in downtown Fort Worth, Texas, Norris waged war against a culture that was changing dramatically, while demonstrating remarkable skills as a showman, promoter, organizer, and orator. He became a composite personality, blending some Billy Sunday with a touch of P. T. Barnum, and a little William Randolph Hearst thrown in. He also had a Napoleon complex.

Not your typical man of the cloth!
Thousands flocked to his church. Multiplied thousands more listened to him on the radio (he was one of the first preachers to effectively build a large following via new medium). He even published his own tabloid newspaper distributed weekly around the country. When the Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Sinclair Lewis was doing the research for his character Elmer Gantry, he visited Norris’ church. Having for years kept a big file of news clippings about the preacher, Lewis was amazed at how many people went to hear Norris every Sunday.

A lot of people were.

They came in droves. In fact, by the summer of 1926, J. Frank Norris was poised to become America’s premier Protestant leader following the death of William Jennings Bryan. All of it, though, changed in a moment of violence one sweltering hot Saturday afternoon, when Dexter Elliot “D.E.” Chipps walked into J. Frank Norris’ office for the first and last time.

In Apparent Danger, we meet the Mayor of Fort Worth at the time, H. C. Meacham (the city’s municipal airport bears his name to this day), a wealthy department story owner. He had secrets the preacher learned about and exploited. And many other leading citizens of the day in the city on the Trinity River figure prominently in the story, including Amon Carter, the owner/publisher of the American south’s largest newspaper, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Carter also owned radio station WBAP. Carter and Meacham were friends of the slain man—even pallbearers at Mr. Chipps’ funeral.

The story of the killing of a Fort Worth business leader by one of its most famous citizens plays out against the backdrop of the 1920s; a turbulent time in the country. It was the age of flappers, Model Ts, Cal Coolidge, Jack Dempsey, Babe Ruth, new movie theaters, and A & P stores popping up everywhere, like Starbucks shops 75 years later.

Apparent Danger is a story that weaves in the thrills and agonies of the great post-World War I oil boom in Texas—with Fort Worth as a center of activity. And the story explores how seemingly mundane city politics became a prescription for murder.

This book will be widely released in bookstores by June, but is now being made available to Townhall readers at Order your copy today—and use the promo code: TOWNHALL for a special 20% discount.

Click on title above for Book Review;

Woman gets 16 years for raping 8yr old daughter from China

TACOMA, Wash. — A 47-year-old woman in Washington state has been sentenced to 16 years in prison for raping her 8-year-old daughter adopted from China.

Donna Marie Whisenhunt, of Lacey, pleaded guilty to child rape as part of a plea agreement. She was sentenced Thursday in Pierce County Superior Court in Tacoma.

Her husband, 51-year-old Eddy Tony Whisenhunt, also pleaded guilty and was sentenced last month to 18 years in prison.

The News Tribune of Tacoma reports the couple were arrested in May after their daughter talked to a school counselor. She had been adopted shortly after her birth in China, and police say the abuse occurred over a four-year period.

Deputy prosecutor John Skinder says Child Protective Services placed the girl in a new home where she is thriving.

Information from: The News Tribune,

Friday, March 5, 2010

New PopeLand Sex Scandal Revealed

Vatican Hit by Gay Sex Scandal

Click on title above to read more about the latest black-eye for Popedom;