Authorities arrested a former Keswick scoutmaster Wednesday, charging him with sodomizing a child, and said more charges could follow.
David Brian Watkins, 49, assaulted a Scout in his troop in 2005, and authorities suspect other assaults on the child between 2002 and 2008, said Albemarle County police Lt. Todd Hopwood. Watkins is being held in the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail on a charge of forcible sodomy of a juvenile.
The alleged victim is now an adult, but was younger than 13 at the time of the 2005 assault, police said. He contacted police Nov. 21 about the allegations, Hopwood said.
Authorities are considering additional charges, and said there could be other victims, Hopwood said. Police have set up a dedicated line for victims to call, 972-4045.
Police declined to elaborate on the charge. The arrest warrant was unavailable.
Investigators want to be sure the accounts of others who might come forward aren’t influenced by press coverage, Hopwood said. One of the obstacles to investigating cases that are several years old is that memories fade, he said.
Hopwood said police have been in contact with representatives of the Boy Scouts of America, who have been cooperative.
“The abuse of anyone, especially a child, is intolerable and our thoughts and prayers go out to anyone who may be a victim of this type of behavior,” read a prepared statement from Michael Hesbach, an official with the Boy Scouts of America's Stonewall Jackson Area Council, which covers Central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley. “The behavior included in these allegations runs counter to everything for which the Boy Scouts of America stands.
“This individual has been removed from Scouting and has not been involved in the program for several months. He has been permanently banned from participating in the Scouting program.”
Watkins ceased his role as a scoutmaster in 2008, police said. He continued serving in other positions after that, Hesbach said.
Adults at a Scout troop meeting Wednesday evening in Albemarle County declined to speak to a reporter but said they were writing a statement. It had not been received as of press time.
A troop website apparently set up by Watkins shows hundreds of photos of Scouts taken at more than 50 camping trips and other events from 2003 to 2008.
One photo shows a boy talking to another Scout, who’s adjusting his pants.
The caption reads: “Yeah Dude you’re A-- looks fat in those new switchbacks.”
Watkins faces a bond hearing today in Albemarle Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney Denise Lunsford said her office will ask that Watkins be held without bond.
After waves of cases involving Scout leaders abusing children, the Boy Scouts of America years ago began performing computerized criminal background checks on all prospective Scout leaders. The Scouts won’t discuss the results of checks on specific individuals, but the group doesn’t allow anyone with a history of abuse to participate in Scouting.
The Oregon Supreme Court earlier this year ordered the Boy Scouts to release files on alleged sex abuse by Scout leaders from 1965 to 1985. The Boy Scouts used the files to attempt to exclude molesters from the group.
Staff writers K. Burnell Evans, Aaron Richardson, Graham Moomaw and Samantha Koon contributed to this report.