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Man kicked out of scouting after Investigative Unit exposes name on 'perversion file'

2 months 1 week 3 days ago Tuesday, September 10 2019 Sep 10, 2019 September 10, 2019 11:59 AM September 10, 2019 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - The WBRZ Investigative Unit found a man appearing on a 'perversion file' maintained by the Boy Scouts of America actively participating in the scouts.

The list is supposed to prevent people from continuing to participate, but that was not the case here. The list contains dozens of men from Louisiana.

Attorney Paul Mones out of Oregon helped make the list public.

"We had to fight tooth and nail against the Boy Scouts of America and this is the first time in the history of the Boy Scouts that they were publicly released," Mones said.

The list is compiled by the Boy Scouts based off of complaints from parents, police reports or other scout leaders, according to Mones.

WBRZ was tipped off that a local man on that list, David Bencaz, was actively involved in Cub Scout Pack 103 in Baton Rouge. Videos were sent to the Investigative Unit of Bencaz participating in various scouting activities, and we found him at a scouting event this summer.

"No comment now, I'm in the middle of something," Bencaz said as we approached him away from the children to ask questions.

According to the file, Bencaz was living in Livingston Parish back in 1989 when the file states he was "accused of inappropriate and excessive attention shown to a 15-year-old boy." A review committee denied his registration, and his name has been on that list since then.

We asked Bencaz what happened back in 1989.

"I'm not getting into it," Bencaz said. "I was cleared, and I was falsely accused. It was cleared up, and I was reinstated to the scouts."

Whatever happened is apparently not traceable in the courts. Bencaz's name appears on the list, but the Livingston Parish Clerk of Court's Office had no charges with his name from 1989. The current district attorney in the parish told us that was before his time, and he had nothing on file.

Mones, who helped make the list public, said there are reasons why someone's name may not be traceable in court records but may still appear on the list.

"The problem is 99 percent of most Boy Scout cases and sexual abuse cases are settled," Mones said. "When you settle a case, it's much easier to keep the documents quiet and under wraps than it would be had they gone to trial."

As we started asking questions to the Boy Scouts of America, they notified Bencaz about it and gave him the boot.

"Our process is when someone is reported or there is an incident that happens, we work with the national office to remove them right away," said Gary Mertz, Scout Executive for the Istrouma Area Council. "That's what we did, was remove the individual from the scouting program right away."

Mertz said before anyone can become a scout leader, there's a thorough screening process.

"We run them through a criminal background check," Mertz said. "We always require two adult leadership, they fill out an application. I don't know how he snuck through there."

Mertz said there's no way for him to know if Bencaz's name was cross-referenced with the list. He added, there are multiple layers of protection when people apply to be scout leaders. The moment they began looking into this situation they contacted Bencaz. Bencaz called the entire thing a misunderstanding.

"I know I haven't done anything," Bencaz said. "I'm a registered member. Clearly, it's a mistake."

The Scouts are saying it's no mistake. They stand by their decision to get rid of him.

"We called him and talked to him, and he didn't have a comment," Mertz said.

It's unclear whether Bencaz will appeal the decision against him.

If you'd like to read the full list that Mones help make public, click here.

In the interest of full disclosure, Chris Nakamoto served on the Istrouma Council Board from 2015-2016. He is an Eagle Scout.

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