I-Team: How a Future Sex Offender Found a Home in 2 NY Boy Scout Troops

Decades before he became a registered sex offender, 60-year-old John Stella was an Assistant Scoutmaster dogged by allegations of abuse in an upstate Boy Scout troop.

  • Decades before John Stella became a registered sex offender, he was an Assistant Scoutmaster dogged by allegations of abuse in upstate NY
  • “He was a sadist,” one ex-Scout said. “I can still think of details. Like the smell of this guy’s chewing tobacco is still in my nose”
  • The Boy Scouts of America told the I-Team Stella’s 1989 arrest was the first time the national headquarters knew of any allegations

Michael Pfau, Rob Simandle’s attorney, suggested the lack of training was precisely the problem back in the 1980s. Back then, he said, the national Boy Scouts of America were the only entity that could have known how crucial more training was. By the 1980s, the Boy Scout headquarters in Texas had compiled hundreds of those Ineligible Volunteer files – and were in a unique position to tell Scoutmasters and parents just how many child predators were trying to become Scout volunteers.

“Parents, for decades, sent their kids on Scout trips without warning or information when the organization, the Boy Scouts of America, knew that they were being infiltrated by pedophiles.,” Pfau said.

Jennifer Freeman, an attorney on Simandle’s team, said his case may be deserving of a criminal investigation. And she said prosecutors throughout New York would be justified in opening wide-ranging probes into the Boy Scouts, much the way the Attorney General is now examining the New York Archdiocese.

“When there’s a criminal investigation there is a lot more at stake,” Freeman said.

“It’s a very important problem that needs to be looked at just as much as the Catholic Church.”


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