Boy Scout officials meet over camp misconduct allegations

Boy Scout officials meet over camp misconduct allegations
The executive committee of the Southern Sierra Boy Scout Council met Monday at the office of their attorney in Bakersfield to review allegations of misconduct at the local summer camp.

Attorney Jay Rosenlieb said the council hopes to issue a statement on Tuesday.

"That's what they're shooting for," said Rosenlieb. The council has been been looking into charges of misconduct by staff at "Camp Kern" this summer. Camp Kern is north of Fresno near Huntington Lake.

Several Eagle Scouts who worked at the camp say they saw serious problems with camp management. At least four scouts wrote letters to the council describing the problems they experienced.

In one letter, a scout who says he's under the age of 18, says he was given two "gag" gifts at the annual Christmas in July staff party. "One was a sex book with graphic images and other other gift was female lingerie," read the letter.

"I was deeply offended by this action," said the scout. He writes that camp director Jim McIlvaine was aware of the gifts "..because he had purchased the items for the staff member to present to front of the rest of the staff. This is unacceptable behavior and are examples of sexual harrassment," wrote the scout.

That same scout worker says another staffer was given an "inflatable sex doll" as a gag gift at that party. "This not only embarrassed the staff member but also embarrassed me as an attendee of the function (which was held on camp property)," he added in his letter.

Last week, the scout council issued a statement saying they were reviewing the situation. "While these allegations appear to include inappropriate behavior, at this time they appear to be isolated to camp staff and do not include illegal activity or the involvement of campers," said their statement issued by the attorney.

But, two scout staffer say in their letters there was never a fire drill at the camp, and others say there was poor staff training and organization. Several letters say camp director McIlvaine left the camp site often for day-long trips to Fresno.

And one scout worker says he was asked by McIlvaine to type up a long report, and that task took from 10:00 a.m. one day until 2:00 a.m. the next day. "No breaks were provided except to go to the bathroom and to eat. (To me this is possibly breaking Child Labor Laws)" wrote the scout.

That scout also said he believes McIlvaine had another management employee forge staff certification cards.

The scout workers who wrote the letters said they think the inappropriate "gag gifts" amount to sexual harrassment, and they believe the actions of the camp management violated Boy Scout policies and guidelines.

Calls were placed to several members of the executive committee that met with the attorney on Monday, but no one responded. The attorney, Rosenlieb, says the council plans to issue a statement on Tuesday.