Vermilion

May 9, 2013 11:29 PM by Erin Steuber

Former Boy Scout Leader Charged with Child Molestation

In Vermilion Parish, a disturbing case is still under investigation, where a former Boy Scout troop leader is charged with child molestation. The charge does not involve any of the scouts, but instead dates back more than 20 years.

Henry Johnson Jr.was arrested Wednesday, he has since bonded out on $20,000 bond. Troopers say his arrest stems from a sexual encounter with a child, who was under the age of ten. And it turns the Boy Scouts played a major role in the man's arrest.

After someone gave an anonymous tip to the Evangeline Area Council, the organization notified police that Johnson might have a questionable past.

"I'd much rather remove an individual from scouting, and find out, down the road, that after the investigation the allegations were absolutely false, and allow that person to re-enter scouting; than to not act, find out that they were true and have left our kids at risk," said Executive Director of the Evangeline Area Council, Art Hawkins.

Three weeks ago Hawkins was alerted to the allegations. He immediately removed Johnson, a father himself, from his position as a troop leader, and banned him from any contact with boy scouts.

"If he ever tries to, or anybody who's been removed from scouting, attempts to register at another council their records will be flagged," said Hawkins. "We have many many youth protection standards and it really starts from the day a young man joins scouting."

The Boy Scouts do background checks on all troop leaders every two years. Johnson's record came back clean every time. The scouts stress they have programs in place to prevent abuse, and no leader, under any circumstance, is ever allowed to be alone with a child.

"This just makes sure that our kids are safe, as well as, keeps our leaders safe," said Hawkins. "In today's society where children make false accusations, this is not only there to protect the kids, but to protect that adults as well."

 

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