Secret files maintained for decades by the Boy Scouts of America contain references to 13 former Scout leaders in the Sacramento region, including three who were notoriously arrested and accused of trying to form a local chapter of the North American Man Boy Love Association.
The files, which date from the early 1960s to 1985, name men from Sacramento, Citrus Heights, Roseville, North Highlands and outlying areas from Lodi to Chico. At least one of the men appears to still live in the Sacramento area, although he could not be located Thursday.
John Norman Olson, 63, is on the state's sex offender registry, listed as being convicted of oral copulation with a minor under 16.
Olson was one of four men three of them Sacramento Scout leaders who were arrested by sheriff's detectives in 1985 and accused of molesting boys ranging in age from 7 to 17.
Olson and the others were accused of plotting to form a chapter of NAMBLA, a group that has advocated legalizing sex between men and boys.
Unlike some cases uncovered by the court-ordered release of the files Thursday, there are no indications that Scout leaders in Sacramento tried to cover up the allegations in that instance. Instead, the files show Scout leaders learned of the problem after the men were arrested.
"Information has come to my attention indicating that you have three scout leaders who are accused of being members in the Man Boy Love Association," reads a Dec. 4, 1985, letter to then-Golden Empire Council Scout executive Larry Leighton. "Membership in this would certainly preclude any registration with the Boy Scouts of America."
Bee archives show that one of the men, Terrance James Maddock, was sentenced in 1986 to 12 years in prison for molesting two young boys. Maddock, a laborer, had been a Boy Scout volunteer for four months before his arrest.
A third man named in the documents, Lawrence Steven Jones, also was arrested in the 1985 case.
The Golden Empire district covers 16 Northern California counties ranging in territory from north of Redding to just north of Galt.
Golden Empire Scout executive Jim Martin said he had not seen the files and referred questions to the Boy Scouts national office. In recent years, national leaders have emphasized that the organization has instituted policies to guard against molestation, including mandatory reporting for suspected child abuse and a requirement that children be accompanied by at least two adults at all times.
Like many files related to cases in other parts of the country, the ones involving Sacramento-area leaders leave open to question whether suspected molesters were ever reported to authorities or merely held in confidence by the Scouts.
In 1973, for instance, the Scouts investigated an area Scouting official for "homosexual activities involving scouts," but the files do not indicate the case was reported to law enforcement.
That official, David B. Pease, who was listed as an Eagle Scout, the organization's highest rank for boys, was described in 1973 as being "about 40" and having served in his position for slightly more than two months. He resigned from the Scouts on Feb. 14, 1973, "due to personal reasons," the files state. The resignation occurred one day after a Scouting official filed an internal report saying he had investigated allegations that Pease lured two Scouts to his apartment and tried to assault one of them.
The files were released on the website of a law firm that battled the Scouts for access to them, but demand was so great Thursday that the site crashed throughout the day. The Bee obtained eight of the 13 Sacramento-area files from the Los Angeles Times, which has compiled a comprehensive list of Scout files on its own site.
The local cases include:
A 1973 case involving the Rev. David E. Cates, a North Highlands man listed as being 38 to 40 years old. Cates is not accused in the files of any abuse, but Bee archives from 1973 show he pleaded no contest to a charge of lewd conduct with an 8-year-old boy and was sent to Atascadero State Hospital as a mentally disordered sex offender.
The 1975 Lodi case of 37-year-old Scoutmaster Dan W. Meeks, described as a walnut farmer and hardware clerk, who was placed in the files after news of his arrest on charges of molesting a 12-year-old boy was reported by the Lodi NewsSentinel.
A case from 1969 involving another former Eagle Scout who was serving as a Scout leader for a Citrus Heights troop. Charles F. Bryan, then 44 and the married father of two, "made overt advances to numerous boys in the troop during hikes and outings; however, no formal charges have been made," the files said. Public records indicate a man of that name and age died in 2001.
A Rio Linda Scout leader named Billie Richard Cowling was 34 when he was placed in the confidential files in 1968. That came after a Sacramento Superior Court judge sent the Scouts a report showing Cowling had been sentenced to one year to life in prison in 1966 for child molestation. He was paroled Nov. 15, 1967, and became a Scout leader three months later. He resigned as Scout leader Oct. 31, 1968, the files indicate.
Bee archives show Cowling was committed to Atascadero in 1977 after molesting or attempting to molest seven children, including several of his stepchildren. He died on Christmas Eve 2001, according to public records.
Gregory Alan Pilkington of Fair Oaks was placed in the files in 1973. Bee archives indicate he was committed to Atascadero in April 1973 for sexually assaulting one of two boys he picked up at 16th and J streets in Sacramento. He handcuffed the two boys and took them to a field in North Highlands but was arrested after a sheriff's deputy heard the boys' cries for help, Bee archives show.