November 30, 2021

3 area men named on list tied to Boy Scout misconduct

Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

A pin is shown on a Boy Scout’s uniform in Irving, Texas. Officials for the Boy Scouts of America said Wednesday that there were only five known sex-abuse victims in 2018 out of roughly 2.2 million youth members.

Three greater Cortland area men — all convicted of sex crimes — are on a list of more than 120 men connected to abuse with the Boy Scouts of America that a New York law firm released in advance of a change in law that would permit lawsuits against them and Scouts.

More than 10 dozen names fill the list including:
• Richard William Latham of Cortland.
• John Dudley Moulton of Cortland.
• James Warren Smith of Groton.

The list does two things, said Mike Finnegan, an attorney with Jeff Anderson & Associates — the law firm that published the list.

First, it brings the names in to the light; and second it reinforces January testimony from Janet Warren, a University of Virginia psychiatry professor hired by the Boy Scouts to review its files, that revealed 7,819 individuals in the “ineligible files” for the Boy Scouts, as well as 12,254 victims. The “ineligible files” are a list of adult volunteers the Scouts compiled who were considered to pose a risk of child molestation.

Finnegan said with the names out in the open, civil lawsuits, permissible under a new state law, could be brought forward.

In recent years, states have moved to extend their statute of limitations laws so victims of long-ago sexual abuse can sue for damages. New York has passed a law that will allow such lawsuits starting in August — which allows victims of sexual abuse, until they reach the age of 55, to file civil or criminal lawsuits against an accused perpetrator.

A similar bill in New Jersey has reached the governor’s desk. Bills also are pending in Pennsylvania and California.

The Boy Scouts of America Greater New York Councils and the Baden Powell Council of the Boy Scouts of America, which covers Broome, Chenango, Cortland, Tioga, Tompkins, and part of Seneca counties, did not return calls or email for comment.

In 2012, all three men were subject of a court-ordered release in which the Boy Scouts allowed men to continue volunteering despite suspicions or convictions for sexual abuse.

• Smith was involved in a Groton case that found he was removed as a leader of Groton’s Troop 77 in 1972, the same year he pleaded guilty in Tompkins County Court to third-degree sodomy. He then volunteered with a Cub Scout post in Michigan from 1978 into the 1980s, although Boy Scout leaders knew about his past.

• Latham, who was removed from his position as assistant scoutmaster of Cortland’s Troop 87 in 1972 following allegations against him in Nebraska, was involved in a Cortland case. He was sentenced to six years in prison in 2010 in Cortland County Court on sexual abuse charges. The conviction, however, did not involve Boy Scouts.

• Moulton, involved in another Cortland case, was removed from his position with Cortland’s Troop 11 in August 1972 after the Tioughnioga Council learned of his arrest in 1970 for third-degree sexual abuse, for an incident with a boy.