Elliott Report: Four case studies of abuse

One victim described how he was given alcohol before being raped by his scout leader

Ian Elliott and the new board chairman of Scouting Ireland, Adrian Tennant. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Ian Elliott and the new board chairman of Scouting Ireland, Adrian Tennant. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

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Case Study A

Subject A was a member of a scouting organisation and seemingly held in high regard. He rose to be a senior volunteer within that organisation before he left of his own accord and in good standing.

The members of scouting with whom he socialised were mainly individuals against whom several other credible allegations of abuse are also on record.

A phone call was received at the national office of the scouting organisation requesting to speak to someone involved in child protection. This call was received in 1995.

The call was from a person who said they had been sexually abused by Subject A over a three-year period from the time he was 10 years old. He said he could recall at least eight sexual assaults committed by Subject A in different locations.

The alleged abuse had taken place 20 years before the victim had made the telephone call in 1995 and had been prompted by the victim seeing Subject A in full scout uniform attending a scout event.

The allegation was discussed with named people who held senior positions in the scouting body, all of whom are reported as having ignored it, or having tried to pass it on to someone else to deal with.

The picture that was presented as a result of that report, was of someone who was an active sex offender within scouting, and who was using scouting as his means of accessing sexual partners who were children.

Senior people in the scouting body took no immediate action against the alleged offender. The volunteer persisted and, some weeks later, succeeded in having the issue brought to hearing.

Subject A did not deny any of the allegations against him and is noted as appearing relieved that something was being done about his “problem”.

Subject A stated that it was known he was not able to control his sexual impulses when among young people. He also stated that he had spoken of this previously and had asked to be allowed to resign his commission. This had been refused.

Case Study B

A request for help was received at the headquarters of Scouting Ireland during 2018. It came from a person who said he was a survivor of sexual abuse that he suffered when he was a young person involved in scouting.

The abuse he described was shocking and involved the use of force and was associated with alcohol. He described how he was given alcohol when attending camps before being raped by his scout leader, Subject B.

This person was a senior volunteer in scouting and rose to be a member of the board of directors in one of the legacy scouting bodies.

A records search was undertaken on Subject B, and an old file was located. He was described as a difficult person. However, there was no mention of him being a known or suspected risk to children and young people.

Subject B eventually of his own volition chose to stand down from his position and left scouting. He left in good standing.

It was reported to the reviewer that when Subject B died, the chief scout at the time asked that a guard of honour be formed for the funeral. However, when he approached people to participate, none would agree.

A senior volunteer who was involved at the time was spoken to by the reviewer and asked the question as to whether it was known that Subject B was an alleged offender at the time. He replied that it was and that he was tasked with keeping an eye on him when he attended camps.

Case Study C

Subject C was a scout leader and played a part in setting up a new scout group which was based in a college.

He was a priest and it later emerged that his interest in young boys involved a desire to have a sexual involvement with them.

His sexual activities were eventually brought to the attention of his superiors, one of whom wrote a detailed letter to the headquarters of a scouting organisation. Included with the letter were written statements from five of Subject C’s victims.

They were all young teenage boys. They described his sexual assaults on them, most of which took place at scouting camps. The letter from Subject C’s superior, who was also a priest, appears to have been held outside of any official filing system when it was received. There is no record of it being filed.

Subject C was asked to leave scouting but there is no record of him having done so.

After a period of 20 years, Subject C was complained of to the gardaí and charged with several counts of alleged abuse. He was never tried for these as he took his own life.

Case Study D

Subject D became involved in scouting through his son. He offered to help as a volunteer with a thriving scout group.

His behaviour presented as concerning particularly during camps when he would spend an inordinate amount of time close to the tents of the boys. This eventually led to intervention by the group leader who challenged him and asked him to stop doing this.

Subject D joined the training team and continued to contribute well to a range of scouting activities such as helping when the boys went swimming.

A parent reported a child being disturbed and distressed through his involvement in scouting. This led on to an allegation being made against this volunteer of sexual abuse.

This was reported to gardaí immediately by the scout leader, and after discussion with them, it was agreed that Subject D should be asked to stand back from scouting while the matter was investigated.

As the investigation by the gardaí progressed, it emerged that Subject D had been previously convicted of two charges of sexual assaults on young people.

He was prosecuted for the offences he committed on the young boys in scouting. It was revealed in the court proceedings that he had 32 victims, four of whom were from within the scout group.

The above are four historic abuse cases outlined in the Elliott report