Ch. 2 tracks down former Ga. scout leaders after "Perversion Files" released



ATLANTA - Channel 2 Action News has gone through documents that were released after a ruling by the Oregon Supreme Court detailing hundreds of cases of alleged sex crimes by Boy Scout leaders.

They outline Scout leaders and volunteers accused of sex crimes between 1959 and 1985.

Nearly two dozen cases in took place in Georgia, with five from metro Atlanta.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Aaron Diamant found at least two of those five are dead, but uncovered documents showing one former scoutmaster living in prison.

Michael Barrett has been locked up in a Georgia prison since 2010 after pleading guilty to aggravated child molestation on an unrelated case.

"It's crazy. It's such an atrocious thing," said Dylan Wattecamps, who lives next door to the Smyrna home where Barrett admitted he repeatedly performed sex acts on three teenage boys for more than two years.

"I knew the kids, but I had no idea any of that stuff was going on. I mean, if we had, it wouldn't have been going on," Wattecamps said.

Among the most shocked by Barrett's action was Cobb County prosecutor Maurice Brown.

"Probably the brazenness of it all. He really didn't have any gumption about luring these boys into his home," Brown said.

Back in 1973, newly unsealed confidential Boy Scout documents show, the organization knew Barrett, while a 21-year-old scoutmaster, was accused of luring three other teenagers from a Scout reservation to a motel where Newton County sheriff's deputies found Barrett in bed with one of them.

Court records show Barrett pleaded guilty to three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor in the case and spent 12 months in jail.

Diamant also dug up Georgia Department of Corrections records that show Barrett spent another four years in prison in the late '80s, also for child-sex crimes, Brown said.

"Who knows how long it had been going on or whether he'd done it with other children in the area as well," said Brown.

Barrett's 2010 plea put him in jail for five years.

Some of his neighbors told Diamant they think that sentence is too light, but the prosecutor said he agreed to it to protect the teenage victims who didn't want to talk about what happened to them publicly in court.

Channel 2's Richard Elliot also tracked down a former scoutmaster from Winder and tried to ask him about the old allegations and about his more recent and unrelated aggravated child molestation conviction.

Thomas Hodges, 72, admitted he was the scoutmaster in Winder in the late 1950s and early 1960, but declined to comment on the old allegations.

"I really don't want to discuss it," Hodges said outside his Chatsworth, Ga., apartment. "I really don't want to make no comment."

The internal memo dated April 18, 1963, details the accusations made against Hodges.

"I had a call from an irate father of a Cub Scout advising me that his son had told him of certain homosexual activities engaged in with him by Hodges," wrote a Scout executive. "I asked him to find out from his son, if possible, if others were involved, and (I was) later advised that there were two other fathers ready to testify."

The memo goes on to detail the meeting between Hodges and the Scout Committee.

"Hodges admitted his guilt and immediately resigned without fuss or fanfare," wrote the executive.

None of the documents state the Scout Committee ever notified law enforcement about the allegations.

From the documents, Channel 2 Action News learned Hodges was later convicted in Winder in 1992 on child molestation charges and served 14 years in prison. He was released in 2006 and lives as a registered sex offender in Murray County.

The Scout documents are part of the court-ordered release of the so-called Boy Scout "Perversion Files,"compiled by attorney’s representing an Oregon victim who was awarded $18 million dollars are part of a 2010 lawsuit. 

The thousands of internals records detail allegations of sexual abuse within the Scouts.  The Scouts reportedly kept the files in an attempt to prevent those accused of molestation from becoming scoutmasters or volunteering again.

In 2010, the Boy Scouts adopted a policy requiring scoutmasters and volunteers to report any molestation or abuse allegations directly to law enforcement.