McGruff in ClassroomThis secret Perversion File on Boy Scout Leader Russ Williams reveals a sheriff’s department employee who would visit local schools dressed in costume under the guise of teaching about crime, only to later be convicted on charges related to child sexual abuse.

For background, the “Perversion Files” are a subcategory of BSA’s Ineligible Volunteer Files — secret files kept at BSA’s national headquarters starting shortly after BSA’s founding in 1919. Each perversion file documents information about an individual scout leader, most of whom were suspected of sexually abusing boys. By 1935, over 1,000 men had been kicked out of Scouting for sexually abusing boys. BSA kept the problem of Scout Leaders sexually abusing boys as quiet as possible and, for decades, failed to implement reasonable child sexual abuse prevention policies.

On July 5, 1989, BSA opened a Perversion file on Oregon City resident Russ Williams. During the year-and-a-half prior to BSA’s opening of its file, Williams served as an youth advisor and committee member for Boy Scout Explorer Post 715, sponsored by his employer, the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Department.

Suspicions about Williams arose “following child abuse allegations made by a fellow deputy[.]” Williams eventually “pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree sodomy,” a “Class A Felony which carries a maximum of 20 years in prison or a $100,000 fine.”

A newspaper article in Williams’ file noted that: “As public affairs officer, Williams was well known in the community. He regularly visited local schools dressed as Officer McGruff or Officer Friendly. He also conducted crime prevention seminars in the community.”

Despite knowing that Williams had pleaded guilty to the sodomy charge, handwritten notes by BSA personnel questioned whether “we need to RED FLAG Russ Williams.” The file was closed with Perversion Files director Paul Ernst’s letter to an Oregon Scout Executive, stating, “[t]his case has been reviewed with our attorney and is now on our permanent Confidential File.”

Here is the Perversion File on Russ-Williams.

 

If you have any information about Russ Williams or sexual abuse in Scouting or another youth serving organization, we would like to speak with you on a confidential basis. Please contact us toll-free at 1-888-407-0224 or use our confidential online form.

 

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Peter Janci

About Peter Janci

Peter has represented more than one hundred victims of sexual abuse over nearly a decade.  ...