Boy Scout Sexual Abuse Series Part 3 – One-On-One Betrayal

Tomahawk Scout Camp SignBy Steve Crew and Peter Janci, July 8, 2015

Beginning in the 1910s, the Boy Scouts of America (“BSA”) began tracking pedophiles who operated in Scouting, creating what they named “the Perversion files”—internal secret files shared with no one that document the problem of sexual abuse in Scouting and the Boy Scouts’ response. Over the years the Boy Scouts destroyed thousands of its Perversion files, but many were preserved and new files are created every year. At least thirty-nine Minnesota Perversion files from 1960-1991 have been made public through child sexual abuse lawsuits against the Boy Scouts. This blog is Part 3 in a six-part series examining the Boy Scouts’ Minnesota Perversion files.

As curator of its massive collection of data on pedophiles in Scouting, BSA was well-positioned to discover how child molesters operated and what simple steps could be taken to thwart their sexual attacks on Scouts. Despite this privileged position, BSA has admitted that it made no effort to review its own Perversion files collection in order to protect the children in its care. Had BSA bothered to conduct a review of its own information, it would have drawn the rather obvious conclusion that child sexual abuse almost always occurs in private, between the abuser and victim or victims. The solution would have been to prevent adult volunteers from spending unsupervised alone time with Boy Scouts, a rule BSA did not implement until 1991.

Irving Beck — Minneapolis, Minnesota (1966)

In 1966, Irving Beck admitted to sexually abusing two Scouts in Minneapolis Troop 115. One of the boys reported that he was molested by Beck on a private camping trip with his Scoutmaster.

Robert Martin Peterson — St. Louis Park, Minnesota (1970)

In 1970, Robert Martin Peterson admitted to using his “trust as a scout leader” to convince multiple Scouts in his care to “stimulate to erection and masturbate” in front of him.

Richard Fred Swendiman — St. Paul, Minnesota (1970)

In 1970, Scoutmaster Richard Fred Swendiman of Minneapolis Troop 216 was banned from Scouting for “immoral acts with boys.” Specifically, he was alleged to have taken one of his Scouts “into the woods,” stripped the boy and had the boy strip him, and then practice “mouth to mouth resuscitation” in the nude. Still in the woods, Swendiman then “initiated” the Scout by holding him over Swendiman’s knees while spanking and fondling the boy’s buttocks and squeezing the boy’s penis.

David Jerome Beardsley — St. Paul, Minnesota (1972)

In 1972, BSA parted ways with Assistant Scoutmaster David Jerome Beardsley of St. Paul Troop 66. Beardsley was accused by a Scout of taking a Scout alone into a tent to talk about the “requirements for being an Eagle Scout.” Abruptly during the talk, Beardsley shoved his hand down the Scout’s pants and began fondling him. The fondling went on for approximately five minutes, all the while Beardsley continued to deliver advice on how to become an Eagle Scout.

If you have any information about any of the following Boy Scout leaders, we would like to speak with you on a confidential basis:

  • Irving Beck — Minneapolis Troop 115
  • Robert Martin Peterson — St. Louis Park
  • Richard Fred Swendiman — St. Paul Troop 216
  • David Jerome Beardsley — St. Paul Troop 66

Call Noaker Law Firm at (612)839-1080

About the Authors:

SteveCrewAttorney-250x250Steve Crew is an attorney with the Portland law firm of Crew Janci LLP.  Steve was a member of the trial team that achieved a$18.5 million verdict against the Boy Scouts of America in a sexual abuse case.   Steve has been a trial lawyer for over 35 years and he focuses his practice on helping survivors of childhood sexual abuse against predatory pedophiles and the institutions of trust that enable pedophiles to get access to children, including the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts of America, the Mormon Church, and the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

PeterJanciAttorney-250x250Peter Janci is also an attorney with the Portland law firm of Crew Janci LLP.  Steve was a member of the trial team that achieved a$18.5 million verdict against the Boy Scouts of America in a sexual abuse case.  Peter has represented more than one hundred victims of sexual abuse over nearly a decade where he aggressively opposed large and powerful institutions, including: the Catholic Church; the Mormon Church; the Boy Scouts of America; federal, state and local governments; and other public and private institutions of trust.


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