Former Boy Scout among those molested
BY ROBERT L. BAKER
Wyoming County Press Examiner
A former Wyoming County Eagle Scout says he was among the thousands of boys nationwide who were molested after joining Boy Scouts.
Bob Smalanskas, now 52, and living in Lewisberry where he is a financial adviser and raising a family, said Friday he was “surprised to finally see the Boy Scouts of America admitting the years of abuse that went on.”
Back in June, when closing arguments were being made in the Jerry Sandusky trial in Bellefonte, the 1978 Tunkhannock Area High School graduate went to Centre County and told members of the national media that monolithic institutions like Penn State and the Boy Scouts had a dark side.
Regarding the Boy Scouts, he said, “There are people still out there who have hurt your kids and will continue to hurt them if we don’t do something.”
In his teens and 20s, Smalanskas said he fought bouts of mental pain over what had been done to him in earlier years, and finally sat down to write out his experiences as a way to cope.
Although no formal charges were ever brought against the alleged perpetrator who still resides in Wyoming County, Smalanskas and two other boys who had then reached young adulthood went to the Boy Scouts’ Wilkes-Barre Council in 1989 and had him removed as a scout leader.
Smalanskas said he had since renounced scouting’s highest honor- his Eagle Scout award-because of a Boy Scouts of America policy he recognized later was quietly removing suspected adults from contact with boys without also contacting local police.
He said Friday it was important that the institution known as Boy Scouts now recognizes it had a problem and doesn’t allow scenarios any more where children are left attended by only one adult leader.
But, he also worries that before that policy was in place there may have been other victims who were made to feel shame for something done to them by an adult leader.
Wyoming County Chief Detective David Ide said he was familiar with Smalanskas’ story, and acknowledged that the District Attorney’s office had opened an investigation in the summer particularly to see if there might be younger victims covered by Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations.
Ide said that if there are any persons who have felt victimized by inappropriate sexual behavior, they should contact the DA’s office at 836-4681.