Scout leaders quietly removed, documents reveal

CBC's The Fifth Estate has uncovered details in two past sexual abuse cases handled by Scouts Canada that were never reported to police.

WARNING: Some language in this story may be considered offensive

The CBC’s The Fifth Estate has uncovered details in two past sexual abuse cases handled by Scouts Canada that were never reported to police.

Recently uncovered documents show that in 1978 scouting leaders in Brockville, Ont., suspected there "may be several undesirables who have been involved in Scouting and removed discreetly without their files being flagged." 

CBC News learned the details of one of the new cases after a victim, Bill Van Asperen, asked Scouts Canada to break the confidentiality agreement in his civil suit against the Scouts in 2001. 

Van Asperen’s documents led the CBC to Greg Giles, whose tale of abuse was mistakenly included in Bill Van Asperen’s file.

On the basis of these cases and several others documented by the CBC, the chief commissioner of Scouts Canada, Steve Kent, said on Thursday that despite previous denials, his organization now accepts that Scouts Canada did not report all allegations of abuse to the police in past decades. 

Bill Van Asperen while in high school. Van Asperen was upset when he heard the Scouts' apology in December that included a statement that all abuse allegations were reported to police. (Courtesy of Bill Van Asperen)

Ontario Provincial Police told CBC News on Friday that new allegations of past sexual abuse by Scout leaders are being investigated.

The OPP won't comment on the status of the investigation or how many complainants may be involved.

A lawyer in London, Ont., Rob Talach, says he expects a lot more cases to be uncovered.

"There will be a number where the documentation that was created didn’t make it to the top. So we have to look at this as the tip of the iceberg on the overall problem."

Former Scouts say police not told

CBC first reported in October 2011 that Scouts Canada signed out-of-court confidentiality agreements with more than a dozen child sex-abuse victims in recent years. Former Scouts said they felt muzzled and unable to get past the abuse since they could not talk about it.

Former Scout Van Asperen, 47, says he can no longer live "in the grey zone anymore." 

Van Asperen says he was especially upset when he watched Steve Kent say in December says that as far as the organization knew all allegations of sexual abuse were communicated to police.

Van Asperen says that while he was initially pleased with the apology, at this point he was disgusted. "Yeah, well we know that’s not true.  It’s just not true." 

Gallery of offenders

Nine cases not reported to the police.


When he was finally able to speak after receiving permission from the Scouts, Van Asperen revealed that he was abused by an assistant Scout leader named John Brown, who, in 1978, invited some boys from the 8th troop over to watch a movie at his home in Brockville, Ont.

Without warning Brown showed the boys a pornographic film and then suggested the boys could masturbate, and he exposed himself.

"…And the hardest part as an adult looking back is as you know right now, there’s a lot of shame that goes with this type of coercion, and we don’t know it’s because we’re 13 years old and we’re being told by a guy who’s in his late 30s, if not his early 40s, that it’s OK, it’s normal," says Van Asperen. 

Brown was named a dangerous offender in 1997 and died in prison in 2010.

When Van Asperen, a cameraman with the CBC on disability, reviewed his files to prepare to discuss his case with the CBC, he retrieved a letter that showed that in 1978 the Scouts in Brockville suspected they had several pedophiles in their unit. 

The letter says Brown and several other men from that area were "discreetly removed" by local Scouting officials.

The letter further stated the men are "known child molesters" and pointed out that their names had not been added to the confidential files.

Another boy in a Smiths Falls unit at the time was Greg Giles. 

Greg Giles as a boy in Smiths Falls, Ont. Giles was sent to do yard work at a leader's home after accusing him of abuse.

"In my case, if they would’ve went to the police appropriately, all this wouldn’t have happened. So, obviously no, they didn’t respond appropriately, they were covering their own ass." 

When Giles went  to Prince Edward Island to a Scouting jamboree in 1977, another leader who had offered to go with the troop, Scouter John, came up to Giles, who was 14 at the time, and "asked me if he could have sex with me, oral sex and I said no."

Giles told another leader what happened and instead of going to police, Scouter John convinced them Giles was making it all up to get out of paying back some pocket money he owed. 

Giles was told to help Scouter John do yard work at his home. The abuse continued to the point where Giles had to barricade himself in the Scouting leader's kitchen. He escaped and took with him a note that Scouter John had given him asking for sexual favours. 

Greg Giles says this man, known only as Scouter John, made him fear for his life.

The Scouts then conducted their own handwriting analysis of the note and concluded weeks later that Giles had been seduced. 

"I guess it sounded better than molested back then but he seduced eight boys. They blackballed him from the organization, Scouts Canada."

Giles was not happy with the outcome. 

"I was thinking I’ve done the right thing. I’ve put a stop to this, only to hear that he was blackballed and everything was just brushed under the table."

It is believed that Scouter John died 10 or 15 years ago.

Giles has decided to sue Scouts Canada for not believing him and not reporting Scouter John to the police.

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With files from the CBC's Angela Gilbert, Annie Burns-Pieper