Gerald Wayne Gunter – Boy Scout Perversion Files

Gerald Wayne Gunter was seen as a problem by the Boy Scouts of AmericaGerald Wayne Gunter, a farm hand living in Ashland, Oregon, began volunteering as an Assistant Scout Master with Troop 112 of Ashland in December 1984. On November 20, 1985, the national office of the Boy Scouts of America created an “Ineligible Volunteer” or “Perversion File” due to his criminal conviction for sexual abuse on October 25, 1985.

The BSA’s Perversion File on Gerald Gunter states that his criminal conviction arose out of the rape of a Boy Scout. The file contains information that Gunter sexually abused minors even after his conviction (he was sentenced to six months in county jail and five years’ probation).

In an April 1986 report, probation officer Sam Olsen wrote, “Mr. Gunter has been making extremely slow progress in his sex offender treatment program. To date, Mr. Gunter has not passed his polygraph disclosure examination. Mr. Gunter has admitted to touching the genital area of no more than fifteen boys. He also admitted to sexual contact with no more than fifty boys in the scouting program.” (Emphasis in original.) At the time of this report, Gunter was living in a trailer next to a children’s playground.

In a 1987 letter from the Boy Scouts’ lawyer to Debra Duhs, Assistant Director for Insurance and Risk Management for the Boy Scouts of America, Attorney Kathryn R. Janssen writes, “In the process of reviewing Gunter’s probation status, his probation officer prepared two ‘special reports’. . . . Please pay particular attention to the later report which summarizes the results of Mr. Gunter’s polygraph examinations. It is with great regret that I see Mr. Gunter confessing to extensive sexual contact of a very serious nature. . . I also see warning signs of several other potential suits.”

Gunter’s case highlights a major flaw of the BSA’s Ineligible Volunteer File system, which is that the BSA kept the files and the information in them secret. One of the early BSA memos in Gunter’s file is printed on BSA stationary with a cartoon of a fireman putting out a fire, which clearly shows how the BSA wanted to treat this problem.

Gerald Wayne Gunter was treated as a problem by the Boy Scouts of America

Once the BSA opened a file on Gunter, that was it. Gunter may have been blackballed from formally volunteering as a registered Boy Scout volunteer, but the Boy Scouts did not tell his former Troop or the community that Gunter was kicked out for raping a child and molesting at least 50 Scouts.

Perhaps if the BSA had warned Troop 112 and the Scouting community in Ashland that Gunter was a known danger to children, he would not have been able to sexual abuse and exploit kids after his conviction. The BSA had Gunter’s damning probation report, but what did the Boy Scouts do to protect children in Ashland from this predator?

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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