CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — An ex-scoutmaster has been sentenced to 30 years behind bars after pleading guilty to sexually abusing three boys while serving as a Keswick Boy Scout troop leader.
David Brian Watkins, 50, accepted a plea deal earlier this year after originally being indicted on 70 charges surrounding inappropriate contact with scouts. He plead guilty to 36 counts in January, avoiding a jury trial, which could have resulted in multiple life sentences.
Watkins, who led Keswick Troop 1028 from 2002 to 2008, admitted to abusing male scouts from 2006-2009. He was arrested in November 2012 after a scout, who was 13 at the time of the incident and is now an adult, reported him to the police.
On Thursday, Judge Cheryl Higgins sentenced Watkins to ten years in prison for each of three counts of carnal knowledge of a child between the ages of 13 and 15. She suspended the remaining 33 charges, which would have placed him behind bars for another 165 years.
Prior to his sentencing, Watkins asked the court for mercy, but prosecutor Darby Lowe read segments of a report to the court where Watkins had told police that it was instead the boy who initiated the sexual contact. According to the Charlottesville Daily Progress, Watkins stated that it was he who felt that he had been raped.
Watkins’ defense attorney Andre Hakes also told that court that the boys involved consented to having sexual activity with the Scoutmaster.
“These were continuing sexual relationships, and though they were with children under 18, they were consensual,” she stated. “David Watkins is not just these crimes. He is responsible for them, but they are not all of who he was.”
Before issuing her sentence, Higgins expressed a concern that Watkins and his defense failed to have contrition over his behavior.
“What is especially concerning to the court in this case is the lack of acknowledgement by the defendant,”she stated.
Following his arrest two years ago, a Portland attorney who won a lawsuit in 2010 lodged by a former Boy Scout who claimed that he was molested by an assistant scout leader told reporters that Watkin’s case reinforces her concerns about the organization.
“This says two things about Boy Scouts,” attorney Kelly Clark said. “First, there is a serious problem with child abuse in Scouting. Second, a lot of organizations [like Boy Scouts] put their own interests ahead of the interests of the kids.”
As previously reported, thousands of documents were released in October 2012 outlining evidence of longstanding and widespread sexual abuse in the Boy Scouts of America. The documents, which the Boy Scouts had fought to keep secret, contained information collected since shortly after its inception in 1910, including letters from victims and their parents, as well as memos and handwritten notes. Some allegations had been substantiated, while others were yet undetermined.
In all, there were 14,500 pages of evidence released.