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Boy Scout records show Fairbanks-area leaders flagged 3 for abuse in 1980s

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Posted: Sunday, October 21, 2012 11:32 pm

FAIRBANKS — Fairbanks-area Boy Scout leaders blacklisted at least three child molesters who served locally with the organization in the early 1980s, according to a huge cache of documents released this week by the Boy Scouts of America.

The records, dubbed the “Perversion Files” by the organization, include about 14,500 documents that the Boy Scouts of America had compiled since the 1940s. The previously secret files, kept by the organization to track 1,200 suspected abusers who had served as leaders, were ordered released Thursday by the Oregon Supreme Court as part of a 2010 civil suit.

The documents include 24 cases in Alaska, seven of them from the Fairbanks area. Three of those files included correspondence between local leaders and the national organization, recommending that child molesters who served locally be banned from serving as leaders in the future.

That list included an Eielson Air Force Base sergeant, Kenneth A. Burns, who was removed as a local leader in 1981 after a mother complained he was sleeping nude during a campout with Cub Scouts and showing them pornographic material. Air Force officials confirmed the behavior, according to a letter to the National Council from Council Executive John P. McKean.

McKean asked that Burns be placed on a national list to prohibit him from serving as a Boy Scout leader, but was told more evidence was needed to take that step.

Paul Ernst, a national Boy Scouts official, agreed at the time that Burns used “very poor judgement.”

“I do not know, however, that this is a serious enough offense to refuse registration anywhere he might try to register unless there are more instances,” he wrote.

Burns was eventually put on the restricted list, but only after being convicted of a court-martial for allowing two boys to “engage is sexually oriented activities” while under his supervision. He was later convicted of child sex abuse charges in Anchorage in the 1990s, where police at the time believed he might have had more than 100 victims. He is in prison in Utah on child sex abuse charges.

The records also include documents about Ken Rarick, who was convicted of molesting a boy during a Boy Scout campout in 1982. Evidence at trial showed he had attempted similar acts during the campout with two other boys, according to the document.

Rarick was subsequently “red flagged” by the organization and removed from scouting correspondence lists. He later was charged with nine counts of molesting students at a private school in North Pole.

A third volunteer, Don H. Dollar, an assistant scoutmaster in North Pole, also was convicted of felony sexual abuse of a minor in 1984, his second offense, according to the correspondence. He subsequently was placed on the restricted list.

Other locally generated documents, which didn’t include names or additional information about the incidents, were filed by local scouting leaders in 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1995, according to the database.

Since the documents were released, national Boy Scouts leaders have been criticized for not doing enough to stop predators.

In a statement to the Associated Press, Scouts spokesman Deron Smith said, “There is nothing more important than the safety of our Scouts.”

Smith said there were times when Scouts’ responses to sex abuse allegations were “plainly insufficient, inappropriate, or wrong” and the organization extends its “deepest and sincere apologies to victims and their families.”

Local scouting leaders couldn’t be reached by phone or email Saturday to comment on the issue.

A searchable database of the Boy Scouts documents has been assembled by the Los Angeles Times and is available online at spreadsheets.latimes.com/boyscouts-cases.

Contact staff writer Jeff Richardson at 459-7518.

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