Two women who say they were sexually abused by their scout leader as teenagers have accused the organization of “silencing” them.
They claim Phillip Perks, 55, from Dinas Powys, South Wales, was allowed to keep his position for seven years after they told a scout commissioner of his alleged crimes.
The women said Mr Perks was “protected” by other members of the unit.
Mr Perks – known locally as Pinky – ran Les Pugh’s own Explorer Scout Unit in Penarth, south of Cardiff, for two decades.
He was arrested and questioned by police on allegations of sexual assault after his alleged victims reported him in March last year.
Mr. Perks died a few days later; His body was found in the Penarth and District Scouts (PADSAC) hut and is believed to have taken his own life.
An investigation into his death is still pending.
The two alleged victims – now in their 30s – said the abuse happened when they were both 16 and members of the Boy Scouts.
They also said they had reported the abuse to Scout leaders twice before, once in the mid-2000s and then in 2016.
But Mr. Perks was retained as leader of Scouts Cymru until his suspension from the organization days before his death. Less than two years earlier, in 2020, he had received scouting’s top honor.
South Wales Police have confirmed the husband and father-of-two is under investigation on suspicion of sexual assault by touching.
A spokesman for the armed forces said he died on bail “before prosecutors had reached a decision on charges.”
Alleged victims Katy and Anna — not their real names — said they repeatedly asked the Scouts to tell all former and current members about their allegations against Perks, but said they felt “silenced” instead.
They are now pursuing a civil suit against the Boy Scouts, their attorney said, to “gain a sense of justice and closure.”
They said they wanted to ensure the protection of other young people in the Boy Scouts.
“I’m just so worried that there are other people out there who have been abused by him,” Anna said.
“But it feels like there’s a systematic attempt to silence us and make us drop it.”
She said both women tried “again and again” to get the scouts to inform people of Perks’ alleged crimes, but claimed their “stone-walling” “perpetuated the abuse” and made them feel “small.” ” to be.
Anna said she wants other potential victims to have “a chance to heal” and “repair any guilt, shame and isolation” they may feel.
“Once you realize that it’s not your fault, once you realize that this was actually a predator and that it did it to other people, it completely changes the way you think,” she said.
Perks’ position within the Scouts and the wider community played a role in why her reports of the abuse were not escalated, Anna believes.
“It’s going to be difficult for people to reconcile the two people — the person who did wonderful things for scouting and the abuser,” she said.
Katy said: “If he was alive or dead should they have told the parents they would want to know for sure?
“It just feels like they’re protecting him or his reputation.”
Katy and Anna said they were assaulted on separate occasions while in Perk’s care and they told each other about the abuse shortly after the incident.
They reported it to a junior guide at the time, who they believe was not trained to deal with such ailments, and said he set them up with an after-school meeting in the field by the scout hut that Perks attended, “taken by surprise”.
While Anna said she “went into full panic attack mode” and left never to return to Scouts, Katy felt compelled to confront her alleged attacker.
Katy said Perks “just denied everything” and didn’t seem upset by her allegations, saying he claimed if it had happened he must have done it in his sleep.
It is alleged that a commissioner found out about Anna’s allegations in 2016. He is understood to deny this.
He has since been suspended from his position and is the subject of an internal investigation.
The Scouts said they were unable to comment further on the circumstances of the commissioner’s suspension, but an email sent to volunteers from Cardiff and Vale Scouts on Saturday (February 18) said he did was suspended after Perk’s death and will be charged with “failure to report an incident within the required timelines.”
The email, prompted by the PA news agency to seek comment from the Scouts, also said it “cannot be proven” at this time that the historic complaints were made.
It urged volunteers not to engage in “speculation” or speak to the media before reminding them to follow protective measures and report any issues immediately.
Tributes to Perks posted by local Scout groups’ social media accounts after his death were removed this week.
The Scouts said their “top priority” was the safety of young people in their care, with all working to a “strict code of conduct”.
“We are aware of this case and are in contact with the two young women who shared their story with you. We take the information they have given us very seriously,” the spokesman said.
“This is a complex and detailed case and we have been working with the police on the issues raised, particularly in relation to other potential victims.
“We are pursuing our own internal investigation and aim to have it completed by March 2023.”
Leigh Day’s attorney Dino Nocivelli said: “The lack of an apology from the Scout Association adds to the impact of the abuse on her life.
“My clients want a sense of justice and closure to their civil cases that has not been possible in the criminal justice system and I hope that the Scout Association will work with us to finally address this and ensure children are better protected in the future. ‘
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https://metro.co.uk/2023/02/24/two-women-say-scouts-uk-silenced-them-over-historic-sexual-abuse-claims-18339898/ Two women say Scouts UK 'silenced' them over historic sex abuse allegations.