Franklin Mathias — Boy Scouts Perversion Files

Catherine_Creek_State_ParkIn 1986, Franklin Mathias was recognized as “Scouter of the Year” for the Eastern Oregon District. Less than a year later, the Mormon Church that sponsored Troop 513 in LaGrande, Oregon, kicked Mathias out of Scouting after years of volunteering, because the state police were investigating Mathias. He was arrested three months later on 9 counts of sexual abuse and later convicted of one count of first-degree sexual abuse and three counts of second-degree sexual abuse. He was ordered to serve four years in state prison for his crimes.

The Observer, a newspaper in LaGrande, reported that the district attorney accused Mathias of sexually abusing 70 young boys since 1962. The newspaper also reported that a psychological exam revealed that Mathias had joined the LDS Church and the Scouts in order to gain access to boys. Three of Mathias’s convictions were for abuse that had occurred at Boy Scout and Cub Scout activities.

The Boy Scouts of America put Mathias on its “Ineligible Volunteer List” after his arrest. This process included creating an “IV File” or “Perversion File” documenting the reasons why Mathias was barred from registering as a Scout volunteer. The file contains an October 7, 1987, letter to Paul Ernst, National Director of the Registration Service, from Phillip W. Robins, a state level Scout Executive, who wrote, “So far, we are not involved and do not have any lawsuits pending against us. For the time being, I guess we wait and keep our fingers crossed.”

It is amazing to me to read things like this from the Boy Scouts. How is it possible for Robins to state that “we are not involved” when dozens of young boys were sexually molested by a serial predator who had been a Scout volunteer for many years? Obviously, for Robins “involvement” only means a lawsuit and not the welfare of hundreds of young boys who had the misfortune of coming into contact with Mathias. The Scouts were more afraid of being sued than they were about the children – they clearly did not make any effort to contact the parents of the kids who had been in Mathias’s troops over the years.

This letter reveals the Boy Scouts’ plan for dealing with sexual abuse. Rather than proactively seek solutions to protect children and weed out pedophiles from their ranks, they preferred to “wait and see” hoping that no one would sue them. The BSA never had a policy or practice of notifying families when the Scouts learned that one of their volunteers was a child molester, no matter how many boy that volunteer may have gone camping with or otherwise had access to.
This is the mindset in which the sexual exploitation and abuse of children festers and grows.

Dumas Law Group has law offices in Portland, Oregon and serves clients in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and other states.

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