Boys still sexually abused by Scout volunteers despite reforms, arrest suggests

Orange County Register

June 27, 2020

By Teri Sforza

Lawyers lining up clients to sue bankrupt organization before Nov. 16 deadline to lodge claims
He played Santa Claus at a charity Christmas breakfast. He volunteered at tree plantings and neighborhood clean-ups. He worked the pancake breakfast to raise money for Boy Scout programs in low-income Long Beach schools.

“I love to help,” says Lewis Brownson’s Facebook page by way of introduction.

Brownson, 43, has been feted in the city’s “Sparks of Change Neighborhood Leadership Program” for his contributions and hard work. But, in an agonizingly common twist, the Boy Scout leader was arrested June 16 on two counts of lewd acts upon a child under age 14, with an allegation of multiple victims, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

A preliminary investigation by Long Beach police found that an 8-year-old boy had been sexually abused while participating in an after-school program over several years — from 2016 through 2018, according to a police spokesperson. Brownson was booked at the Long Beach city jail, with bail set at $1.2 million.

“The Boy Scouts say they’ve put safeguards in place, that abuse is a problem of the past,” said Andrew VanArsdale, a lead attorney with “But we represent the families of children who were abused in the past year, the past two years.

“If the Boy Scouts of America has proven anything over its history, it’s that they allowed this to happen and never cared enough to stop it.”

So far, AIS represents more than 4,500 men and boys who say they were abused in Scouting. The oldest is 93. The youngest is 8.

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