This is part eight in a multi-part series examining the Boy Scouts of America’s (“BSA”) Oregon Perversion files.
For background, the “Perversion Files” are a subcategory of BSA’s Ineligible Volunteer Files—secret files kept at BSA’s national headquarters starting shortly after BSA’s founding in 1919. Each perversion file documents information about an individual scout leader, most of whom were suspected of sexually abusing boys. By 1935, over 1,000 men had been kicked out of Scouting for child molestation. BSA worked to keep the public ignorant of its sexual abuse problem and, for decades, failed to implement reasonable child sexual abuse prevention policies.
On January 21, 1991, BSA opened a secret Perversion file on Cub Scout leader Robert Joseph Ewing of Florence, Oregon. At that time, Ewing was a single man living in Florence, Oregon, according to the Boy Scouts’ file. According to Ewing’s file, he served as an Assistant Webelos Den Leader in Cub Scout Pack 777.
A BSA internal memorandum explains:
Suspended or denied registration for the following reasons:
Because he has been under investigation for a[n] [un]natural interest in younger boys. [sic]
The Council office received a phone call from Mr. Ewing’s sister [REDACTED] who lives in Portland, Oregon stating that both she and her brother, Robert, were abused as children and she had caught her brother several years ago having oral sex with a young boy six-year-old, when Robert was 16. She stated that as late as Thanksgiving, 1990 Robert was away from home with a 12-year-old boy. She is sure that boys are being molested, and she wants her brother out of Scouting.
We reported this information to the District Attorney’s investigator who also talked to Billie Williams, and began an investigation. At this date, there has been no legal action brought against him. The investigator states he has no reason not to believe what the sister has said.
The file closes by noting “[t]his case has been reviewed with our attorney and is now on our permanent Ineligible Volunteer File.”
Ewing’s Perversion file can be accessed here: robert-joseph-ewing