Lieutenant Todd Hopwood asserts there could be other victims and urges them to come forward.
photo by lisa provence
A former scoutmaster of a Keswick-based Boy Scout troop has been charged with forcible sodomy. At a 5pm press conference, officials released that David Brian Watkins, 49, who founded Troop 1028 and went on to serve as its leader for eight years, is an accused felony child-molester.
Watkins was arrested on Wednesday, November 28. The investigation began one week ago on November 21, when the now-adult victim reported sexual abuse that took place when he was a juvenile. Additional charges are under consideration.
"We believe there could be other victims," said Albemarle Police Lieutenant Todd Hopwood. "Any victim who feels that they've been sexually assaulted, we urge them to come forward."
Police have a dedicated line for possible victims or anyone with further information about the investigation: 434-972-4045.
Hopwood notes that acts of sodomy involving a juvenile under the age of 13 are automatically considered non-consensual. A forcible sodomy conviction carries a penalty of five years to life in prison.
"I just learned about this," says Michael Hesbach, an official with the Stonewall Jackson Council of the Boy Scouts of America. "He is not a leader with the Boy Scouts of America now."
Hesbach released this statement: "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. 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."
Hesbach says that background checks are performed on volunteers.
Nationally, the Boy Scouts– just two years after celebrating a centennial of promoting teamwork, community service, and self-reliance– have found themselves immersed in a darker side of the organization. Records released last month, dubbed the "perversion files," detail instances of more than 1,200 molestations from the mid-1960s to mid-1980s.
According to online records, Watkins launched Troop 1028 in the year 2000 and stepped down as its leader in 2008. The records indicate that Watkins continued to serve the three-patrol troop as a member of its governing committee with oversight on service projects and the Order of the Arrow, a special honor society for top Scouts. The troop meets at the Charlottesville Moose Lodge 1028 on Richmond Road.
A computer expert, Watkins is listed as owner and CEO of Watkins Computer Services and continues to serve as the administrative contact for troop1028.com, an archive of the group's early years.
"Our Scout troop is working swiftly and diligently to address the matter with the strong support of the Boy Scouts of America," says Pete Fenlon, the current Scoutmaster of Troop 1028, in an email.
Watkins will have a bond hearing at 1:30pm Thursday in Albemarle Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.
Updated at 6:25 and 6:41pm
Correction 11/29: The time of the bond hearing was wrong in the original version.
–with additional reporting by Hawes Spencer