In 1979, in southern California, a Boy Scout camp director named Richard John Turley asked permission from the parents of three Scout campers to keep the boys with him at the Lost Valley Scout Reservation for an extra day after the rest of the troop went home. That night, he brought all three boys into his tent and sexually molested them.
The boys reported Turley’s crimes to their parents, including one father who was the Scoutmaster of the troop. This Scoutmaster confronted Turley, who immediately packed his bags and headed back to British Columbia, Canada, where he lived.
The Scoutmaster reported the incident to A. Buford Hill, Jr., head of the Orange County Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Hill, a paid Scout employee, took the steps necessary to get Turley on the BSA’s Ineligible Volunteer list and have the BSA create a “Perversion File” on Turley.
That’s where the matter stopped, as far as the BSA was concerned. There is no record that the BSA or the Orange County Council took any steps to learn whether Turley – who had volunteered at the California camp for at least three years – had molested other boys at the camp. There is no record of meetings with troop parents, letters to Scout families, or any efforts to inform camp participants of Turley’s crimes or find out if he committed others. As Hill wrote to the BSA:
As far as the other people in the camp were concerned, they thought that [Turley] had been called back home because of family problems.
There is no record that the BSA or the Orange County Council reported Turley’s crimes to the police.
Turley went on to volunteer for the Boy Scouts of Canada as a Scoutmaster in British Columbia. In 1996, he was criminally convicted for sexually abusing four Scouts, starting when one boy was nine years old. That boy, now an adult, filed a lawsuit in British Columbia last week against the Boy Scouts of Canada, alleging that Turley sodomized and otherwise abused him more than 100 times over the two and a half years Turley was his Scoutmaster. The suit also alleges that Turley had a similar conviction in the 1980s.
So here we have the sickening story several other boys who were sexually abused because the BSA kept its secret “Perversion” files secret.
Back in 1979, BSA knew that Turley lived in British Columbia. BSA also knew that Boy Scouts of Canada, while a separate organization, used the same kind of Ineligible Volunteer file system to keep track of bad guys. Why didn’t BSA warn the Scouts in Canada that they had a child molester in their midst? Why didn’t they share Turley’s “Perversion File” with their Canadian counterparts? So many children would have been protected from this serial pedophile by a simple act of common sense.
If you were abused by Scoutmaster Richard John Turley — in America or Canada — we would like to talk to you. Please call us at 888-407-0224.