Norristown Area Men Listed in Boy Scouts' 'Perversion Files'
The Boy Scouts of America reportedly kept extensive secret lists of men banned from volunteering with the scouts.
Media outlets all over the country have been reporting on the Boy Scouts of America's (BSA) so called "Perversion Files" – lists of men banned from volunteering with the organization due to allegations of inappropriate behavior which, in most cases involved molesting boys.
The files, which cover the years from 1965 to 1985, list thousands of men, many of whom were never charged with any crime because the BSA kept the records private and never reported the incidents.
The files were released after a lawsuit in Oregon (Lewis vs. Boy Scouts of America, Case No. 0710-11294) resulted in a court order demanding the records be made public.
Of the thousands listed, two men were from the Norristown area and volunteered with local scout troops in the 1960s – Donald Wertman, of Norristown, and John Myers, of Trooper. Both men were reportedly charged and at least one received prison time for his crimes.
Wertman was an assistant scout master for Troops 268 and 389 and as an associate advisor at Post 268 in the early 1960s. Wertman's file contains an undated news clipping reporting that he was arrested and sent to county prison without bail on charges of corrupting the morals of a minor. The clipping notes he was also wanted for charges in West Norriton, Lower Providence, Upper Merion and Plymouth townships.
It's unclear if Wertman was ever convicted of on any charges, but a letter dated Dec. 8, 1962, on stationary from the Saint Francis of Assisi Rectory and addressed to Boy Scouts of America Valley Forge Council District Director Robert Maynes, indicates that a member of the parish conducted an investigation into unspecified complaints about Wertman and found them to be true.
The unidentified author of the letter (the name was redacted), stated:
"It is neither the intention of this parish or me personally to bring this case to the attention of the civil authorities. The sole reason for this intention not to prosecute is a personal conviction that a public involvement of the case, now somewhat past, would serve no purpose with regards to correcting the damaged minds of th youth involved but would serve only to impress the unfortunate and degrading incidents more firmly in their minds."
According to the files, Myers, a scout master for Troop 242 in 1966, pleaded guilty to four counts of sodomy and corrupting the morals of a minor in 1967 and was sentenced to 4 to 23 months in Montgomery County Prison and three years probation.
You can download the complete BSA files on both men in our PDF section and see the full list of ineligible volunteers here.