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posted: 10/20/2012 8:00 AM

Local cases from the Scouts' 'perversion files'

Dozens of suburban men among those barred by the Boy Scouts

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  • Portland attorney Kelly Clark examines some of the 14,500 pages of previously confidential documents created by the Boy Scouts of America concerning child sexual abuse within the organization Tuesday in preparation for releasing the documents Thursday as he stands in his office in Portland, Ore. The Boy Scouts of America fought to keep those files confidential.

    Portland attorney Kelly Clark examines some of the 14,500 pages of previously confidential documents created by the Boy Scouts of America concerning child sexual abuse within the organization Tuesday in preparation for releasing the documents Thursday as he stands in his office in Portland, Ore. The Boy Scouts of America fought to keep those files confidential.
    Associated Press

Daily Herald report

A few dozen suburban men were among the roughly 5,000 Boy Scout officials in the U.S. who were barred from Scouting between 1959 and 1985 because they were either suspected of or charged with sexually abusing boys under their supervision.

The Daily Herald followed up on local cases among the documents released on Thursday by the Boy Scouts of America and published by the Los Angeles Times.

In many cases, details are not available.

What follows are cases reporters were able to follow up on.

Nobody wanted to believe it of a cop

Former Wood Dale police Sgt. Robert C. Sample was under suspicion for years before he was charged with molesting a Boy Scout at a McHenry County motel, his former chief said.

But few wanted to believe the affable cop, who dined with residents at a local restaurant and whose father owned a local business, would ever harm a child.

"We had heard other things about him over the years, but nobody would ever come forward and say anything," former Wood Dale Police Chief Frank Williams said Friday. "He was respected by a lot of people and had been around a long time. Nobody had anything to say about him. They didn't believe any of that stuff."

According to Williams, Sample had been under investigation by two previous police chiefs when, in February 1977, the parents of a Boy Scout finally made formal allegations.

Williams -- then just 28 years old and fresh in the chief's seat -- said he worked with the state police and McHenry County prosecutors on the investigation, which quickly led to charges.

Sample, who died in 2010, resigned and committed himself to the psychiatric ward at Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove Village after the department suspended him, according to information in the just-released Boy Scout "perversion files."

He later pleaded guilty to contributing to the sexual delinquency of a child.

The allegations stemmed from a visit to a Crystal Lake ski resort, where Sample, a Boy Scout leader, was accused of molesting a 13-year-old. Charges were lodged after several children passed lie-detector tests, documents stated. Sample was sentenced to six months in prison and placed on two years' probation.

Sentenced to four years in prison

Frank A. Farrell III was a 31-year-old Scoutmaster with Troop 54 in Carpentersville and a teacher at a nursery school in Streamwood when he was suspended from the Boy Scouts in June 1981.

Streamwood police in May 1981 charged Farrell with taking indecent liberties with a child after he pleaded guilty to sexually abusing four boys, ages 5-6, at the Streamwood nursery school where he worked, according to a police report. The judge in that case sentenced Farrell on Sept. 3, 1981, to four years of conditional discharge and psychiatric treatment.

During the investigation, court records show, Streamwood police asked Farrell if he had any "involvements" with Boy Scouts. Farrell said no.

But on Oct. 26, 1981, Farrell confessed to raping and abusing a 15-year-old boy at Farrell's then-home. The victim told police Farrell was his Scout leader, a Carpentersville police report shows. Farrell admitted cutting the teen "slightly" with scissors in an effort to circumcise him and sticking pins in the teen's penis.

Farrell was charged with seven counts of deviant sexual conduct and five counts of taking indecent liberties with a child. The most serious offenses, the deviant sexual conduct, were dismissed in exchange for Farrell's guilty plea to the indecent liberties of a child charges. On Nov. 3, 1982, he was sentenced to four years in prison, court records show.

Former Arlington Cubmaster on list

A former Arlington Heights Cubmaster was barred from the Boy Scouts in November 1975 after Scouts complained he touched them inappropriately on camping trips -- reaching into their sleeping bags, requesting certain boys sleep near him and devising a game that required boys to undress in front of him.

No evidence has surfaced that the man, who was 44 and living in Lake Zurich in 1975, was ever charged with a crime. Because of that the Daily Herald is not naming him, nor has the paper been able to locate him. He would be 80 or 81.

The Cubmaster was banned from the Scouts and added to the national "Perversion List," the confidential list of former Scout leaders accused of sexually abusing boys in their charge.

An undated letter from "Concerned Parents of Troop 34" said the man's predatory actions were so common that when older boys heard him coming they would run out the back of their tent.

"On several campouts in the past, Mr. ---- has requested that certain boys sleep next to him," the letter reads, adding several boys quit the troop after waking up at night to find his hand touching them inside their sleeping bags.

The Scoutmaster also told the boys to sleep in their underwear or naked, because "it's warmer that way," the parents wrote.

The letter also referenced a game the man devised at a regular Boy Scout meeting in 1975, telling the boys to see how quickly they could take off their clothes and put them back on. "Mr. ---- became angry when several of the older boys refused to participate in this activity," the letter adds.

"We shudder to think how long this sort of thing has been going on," the letter says. "However, our only concern is that Mr. --- be immediately forced to resign ... and that steps be taken to insure he is never able to lead another troop."

Later that month, the Northwest Suburban Council wrote a "thorough investigation of each complaint has left us no choice," and the organization requested the man's immediate resignation.

Neither Lake Zurich or Arlington Heights police have any record of charges involving the man.

1964 guilty plea not related to Scouting

A St. Charles man is named in the Boy Scout files, but for reasons not directly linked to his former role as Cubmaster of St. Charles Cub Scout Pack 154. Fred Eugene Schon II was 28 when he entered a guilty plea in a 1964 case in which he was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Schon received probation and submitted his resignation to his employer, St. Charles Unit District 303.

The Kane County state's attorney's office is reviewing the case file for the incident, and details were not available Friday.

Documents in the Boy Scout files include a letter written by former District 303 Superintendent John Wredling, who following Schon's resignation wrote to the Teachers Placement Office at Northern Illinois University. The letter appears to be in response to a request for a letter of reference, and Wredling wrote he found a "positive reference a very difficult thing to submit to you."

Wredling's letter cites an incident between Schon and a male student in District 303 that resulted in legal action taken by the boy's parents.

Wredling added that any work reference for Schon should include mention of the incident "to protect successive school systems of a repeat of a similar incident."

"My professional obligation requires me to do so in order to protect boys and girls," Wredling wrote.

The file on Schon concludes with a letter from a local Boy Scout executive to upper management of BSA in New Jersey. The executive cites a communication with Wredling that involved Schon resigning because of "proof of homosexual conduct."

The file indicates Schon resigned the Boy Scouts after a year with the St. Charles pack in 1963-64.

Accusations by Scout 'not really the truth'

Ralph Edwin Gebes of Batavia said Friday he suspected his name would come out when the BSA list was released this week.

Gebes was 25 at the time a complaint was made against him in 1967. It referenced a Scout who claimed he and Gebes had been "engaging in homosexual activities" for two or three years.

"This admission was made by the Scout to his mother and father after a teacher and the coach in the Scout's parochial school expressed suspicion," according to the Confidential Record Sheet, Division of Personnel of the BSA. The form states Gebes, when confronted with the accusations, resigned.

On Friday, though, Gebes said he resigned as Scoutmaster "for the good of the troop." The accusations by the Scout "were not really the truth," he added. "I don't even know who it was."

He suspects the release of his name will make some things "very difficult" for him. "There's not much I can do about it," he said.

He was never charged with a crime in connection with the allegations, but the Daily Herald is naming him because he agreed to be interviewed. Gebes, a longtime volunteer with the Veterans of Foreign Wars and, today volunteers with a television broadcasting club at Marmion Academy, a military school in Aurora.

"It will probably complicate things," he concedes.

He thinks releasing the Boy Scout file about him is unfair, because criminal charges weren't brought.

"That (the file) doesn't mean anything," he said.

He later tried to become a Scout officer while serving with the Air Force in Puerto Rico and Maine, but he remains on the list of people ineligible to volunteer.

Leader removed after camping trip

A Scout leader had a young boy run nude as part of an "initiation," molested him, then hit the child after he threatened to tell his parents, according to the just-released "perversion files" culled by the Boy Scouts.

The man, who lived in Downers Grove at the time of the alleged abuse 45 years ago, was removed from his paid post and barred from Scouting -- but apparently was never charged with a crime.

Seven pages of confidential letters and memos between leaders of West suburban Council 147 and the National Council in New Jersey reveal the man, then 36, had taken had taken five Scouts on a camping trip in June 1967.

The Scoutmaster, a married father of three who worked as a parts salesman for a Cadillac dealer, isolated one boy from the others in the group, according to the memos.

He had the boy remove his clothes and run through vegetation, as part of a "so-called initiation" for a leadership role, the documents said. He also molested the boy and told him not to tell anyone about it, the documents said.

When the Scout threatened to tell his parents, the leader hit him and indicated the boy "would get additional such treatment if he did any talking about what occurred to him," a memo stated.

Leaders of local Troop 99 learned of the allegations in September 1967 and met with the Scoutmaster, who admitted to the abuse, documents said, noting that "he'd been doing some drinking and had been taking drugs."

The statement goes on, "He also made a statement about having marital difficulties ... he further stated that shortly afterward he sought psychiatric help and has had six or seven treatments since the incident occurred."

The man was barred from Scouting a week later, but no court records could be found indicating he was ever charged with a crime in DuPage County. He no longer lives at his former address and would be 81 years old today.

Two leaders charged after 1977 event

Patrick Allen Weglarz was a 26-year-old Lisle resident in 1977, when he and another Boy Scout leader were charged with molesting two preteen troop members during separate camping trips near Naperville, according to BSA documents.

Weglarz and his assistant troop leader, Charles Fugate, were accused of sexually molesting an 11-year-old boy at a youth camp and then a 12-year-old boy about two weeks later in a forest preserve.

Fugate, a 23-year-old Chicago resident at the time, eventually was sentenced to four years in prison. However, the documents released this week didn't indicate whether Weglarz was convicted when he was tried separately.

Both were removed from their leadership roles after they were charged, documents indicate.

Real estate records show that Weglarz lived in Lisle until 2000. Attempts to contact the 61-year-old at his current address in Chicago were unsuccessful. A woman who answered the phone on Friday declined to comment.

DuPage man denied leadership position

A Naperville man who owned a painting business was denied a leadership position in the Boy Scouts and banned from further participation after making inappropriate comments to a 15-year-old Scout, documents allege.

According to the 54-page file, the man befriended the 15-year-old son of the local Scoutmaster. During a 1983 telephone call with the boy, the man said he was attempting to educate the boy on the difference of trust in a friendship and in a loving relationship.

During the telephone call, which the boy's parents were listening in on, the man asked the boy, "If I asked you to, would you take your clothes off in front of me?"

The man acknowledged asking the question, documents stated, but said it was a "hypothetical example of commitment."

Later, during his review before the Boy Scout council, the man said he realized the question was in poor taste and blamed his decision making on his depression, which he was treating with "four to five" alcoholic drinks a night.

Attempts to reach the man Friday were unsuccessful.

Scouts suspected man of incidents

In July 1977, a then-38-year-old Villa Park man resigned from the Boy Scouts after an Explorer Scout accused him of molestation.

One of the documents released this week show that local Scout officials suspected that the man, who apparently was never charged, might have been involved in other incidents.

In an Aug. 15, 1977, letter to a director with the Boy Scouts of America, a Scout executive from DuPage County wrote that there was "some indication that other boys may have been involved." But, he added, "we cannot substantiate the fact."

"We do not anticipate any legal action growing out of the situation," the Scout executive wrote, adding the mother of the Explorer had no wish to pursue the matter beyond the Villa Park man's resignation.

• This story was reported and written by Daily Herald staff writers Josh Stockinger, Larissa Chinwah, Harry Hitzeman, Melissa Silverberg, James Fuller, Susan Sarkauskas, Elisabeth Mistretta, Robert Sanchez and Justin Kmitch.

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