Benjamin Drake and Robert Frederick Drake, Sr. — Boy Scouts of America Abuse Cases

BSA logoIn June 1988, Edwin Weiseth, Scout Executive of the Crater Lake Council of the Boy Scouts, and Sergeant Ron Jones of the Oregon State Police confronted Robert Drake, Sr. about a child abuse allegation that was made to local law enforcement officials in 1979. Drake was told that his registration with the Boy Scouts of America would be suspended and his name would be placed in a “Confidential file” (also known as an “Ineligible Volunteer” or “Perversion” file).

This confrontation occurred after a Scout volunteer happened to inform Weiseth and Scout officials that Drake and his son Benjamin had sexually abused a girl in the late 1970’s. The young girl had given an oral statement to the Grants Pass Police Department on June 6, 1979 and told them that she had been repeatedly raped by both Robert Drake Sr. and his son Benjamin during the six years (1973-79) she had lived with them. The Scouts were able to confirm the accusations with one phone call to the local police.

Robert Drake, Sr. was a Cub Scout volunteer in 1988. It is not clear what position his son Benjamin held in Scouting, although he was a registered volunteer. It is also not known how long both were involved with the Boy Scouts. What is known is that these two men weren’t removed from the Scouts until nine years after being accused of sexually abusing a young girl, even though a phone call to the local police would have been the only background check needed to exclude both men from Scouting.

Why does it matter that men accused of sexually abusing a girl weren’t kicked out of the Boy Scouts earlier? It matters because the generally favorable reputation of the Boy Scouts as an organization is shared by the men who volunteer in Scouting. This was even more true back in the 1970s and 1980s. Boy Scout volunteers were seen as upstanding, trustworthy citizens who took the Scout Oath to “help other people at all times,” be “morally straight,” and to follow Scout Law by being “trustworthy” and “loyal.” Men who rape little girls do not deserve to hide behind the official approval of the Boy Scouts. The Boy Scouts as an organization should have taken simple, common sense steps to do better at screening its volunteers.

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

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