LAFAYETTE, La. — The Lafayette attorney accused of rape in an investigation related to the Boy Scouts held a press conference Wednesday to deny the allegations made against him.
"I want to begin by making it very clear. I completely deny any and all charges made against me by an anonymous alleged victim," Barry Rozas said during the press conference. "It simply did not happen. And there are no circumstances that can ever be misconstrued as inappropriate in all of my years as being a scout leader. While I'm sympathetic to true victims of sexual abuse. There's no victim in this case, as it relates to me, because I never abused anyone."
Rozas, 52, was booked with one count of first-degree rape yesterday and released on a $25,000 bond, records show. The victim has alleged that he was raped by Rozas at a location in the 400 block of Cajundome Boulevard. This is the block where the Cajundome is located, as well as much of the UL Athletics complex. The records are not specific as to location; they just list the 400 block of that street. The complaint was one of 28 turned over to the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office in November by the Evangeline Council after the council received them from a commission working on the Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy case.
Rozas and his attorney, Kevin Stockstill, alleged that he was not allowed to participate in the Sheriff's investigation of the accusation against him, and that he wasn't provided the victim's name.
"I offered to provide voluntary statements to law enforcement, without an attorney present. And I've offered to provide multiple witnesses who will completely contradict the false allegations that have been made against me," he said. "I want this community to know who I am. I'm a devoted husband, a father and a grandfather, and I'm an attorney here in town. I'm a devout Catholic from a good family here in South Louisiana. I've spent my whole life in service to God, my family and my community. And I close by reiterating: I'm innocent of all charges. I can't even imagine doing something like what I've been accused of. I will not rest, not ever, until these false charges are completely dismissed, and my name is restored."
Officials with the Evangeline Council tell us that the complaints were provided to them last fall as part of the bankruptcy process for the Boy Scouts of America. When the national group filed for bankruptcy, one of the things that had to happen was an accounting of all claims that might be outstanding, so they could be considered when assets are assigned.
Lafayette attorney Gary McGoffin, who has been involved with the council for decades, explained that a commission was created to find any outstanding claims against the Boy Scouts, be it the national organization or the local-level organizations.
That commission collected claims and provided them to the local-level groups, McGoffin explained. The 28 complaints were provided to the Evangeline Council last November by that commission, and as soon as the local folks received the complaints they forwarded them to the LPSO, he said.
The Evangeline Council was unaware of the complaints until they received them last fall, McGoffin said. Since the 1990s, the council - as well as all local-level Boy Scout groups - has included a "youth protection" aspect in their activities.
Special training is provided to scouts, parents and all leaders aimed at preventing abuse, identifying abuse and reporting it. The program is aimed not just to protect scouts from abuse, but also to give them tools they can use in all aspects of their lives to protect themselves, McGoffin said. To read about that, click here. (https://www.eacbsa.org/YPReporting)
The Boy Scouts of America have responded to our requests for comment and response. Here's what they sent about Rozas' arrest:
We were deeply troubled to learn of these allegations. This conduct is reprehensible and runs counter to everything for which the Boy Scouts of America stands. This individual’s registration in Scouting has been revoked, and he has been barred from participation in Scouting programs.
We plan to hold a meeting with local Scouting parents to inform them of this individual’s arrest and to remind them of the resources we have in place to help parents have important conversations with their children about how to stay safe and what to do if they ever feel unsafe.
Records with the Louisiana Bar Association indicate that Barry Jamar Rozas was admitted to practice in 1992 and is a member of the LeBas Law Offices APLC firm. The firm's website indicates he graduated from LSU and specializes in Maritime/Jones Act, Longshore claims, Louisiana state workers’ compensation, general liability, insurance and reinsurance law, and subrogation.
His may be the first arrest of several. The Boy Scouts called the office back in November 2020, and turned over 28 complaints involving 20 alleged victims for incidents alleged to have occurred between 1955 and 2012, the spokeswoman said. Investigators are still trying to determine how many alleged suspects there are in those cases, she said.
The investigation is ongoing, and some complaints fall outside the jurisdiction of Lafayette Parish, she added.
This is not the first criminal case involving people affiliated with the Evangeline Council.
In 2013, a Kaplan man was arrested and accused of molestation of a 10-year-old in the 1990s. He was affiliated with the local Boy Scouts council, but only as a scout parent, officials said at the time.
In 1998, a Boy Scout leader and his roommate were accused of molesting boys and filming it, then distributing the child pornography. In that case, Matthew Carroll, a Boy Scout leader, and Robert Randall Reinhart, who was Carroll’s roommate, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to use, persuade and induce children to engage in sexual conduct in order to produce pornography for distribution. They pleaded guilty and were each sentenced to 19 years and seven months.
Carroll and Reinhart shared a mobile home in Scott, where investigators found camera equipment, including hidden cameras in Carroll’s bedroom. They recovered nearly 2,000 pieces of child pornography, including videos of Carroll with young boys, and boys in various states of bondage, investigators said at the time.
One of Carroll’s attorneys for the federal child pornography case was Kevin Stockstill, the attorney who organized the press conference for Rozas today.
Carroll and Reinhart were both charged in state district court with multiple counts. Both Carroll and Reinhart pleaded guilty to indecent behavior with a juvenile and contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile and both were sentenced to nine years in prison, which sentences were to run at the same time as their federal sentences.
The Boy Scouts of America also provided comments on the larger issue of safety for children in scouting programs, including information about how families can find help:
Nothing is more important than the safety and protection of children in our Scouting programs – it is our top priority. Over many years, we have developed some of the strongest youth protection policies found in any youth-serving organization, which are informed by respected experts in the fields of child safety, law enforcement, and child psychology. The BSA’s multi-layered process of safeguards includes the following measures, all of which act as barriers to abuse: a leadership policy that requires at least two youth-protection trained adults be present with youth at all times and bans one-on-one situations where adults would have any interaction alone with children – either in person, online, or via text; a thorough screening process for adult leaders and staff including criminal background checks, and the prompt mandatory reporting of any allegation or suspicion of abuse to law enforcement.
The BSA also offers a 24/7 Scouts First Helpline (1-844-SCOUTS1) and email contact address (firstname.lastname@example.org) for help reporting suspected abuse or inappropriate behavior and to request funding for counseling.
The BSA offers to fund counseling for abuse survivors and members of their families by a provider of their choice. In addition, the BSA has partnered with 1in6, a trusted national resource for male survivors, to meaningfully expand its online services so that more individuals who suffered abuse while in Scouting can anonymously access vital support from trained advocates when and how they need it. Victims can access these independent services at www.1in6.org/BSA [1in6.org].
For more information about the BSA’s youth protection policies, our commitment to supporting victims, and our efforts to be part of the broader solution to child abuse, please visit: www.scouting.org/youth-safety [scouting.org].
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