was a Webelos scout leader in Kaysville, Utah; pleaded guilty in 1987 to lewdness with a child; served prison time

Case Summary

This case arose in 1990 in Utah. Leroy B. Hamblin, a Webelos scout leader and father of six children, pleaded guilty in 1987 to lewdness with a child (crime date: 1986-10-15), but was not placed in the BSA “ineligible volunteer” files until 1990-02-21.

Hamblin pleaded guilty for lewdness with a child (a misdemeanor charge) and was sentenced to one year in jail and fined $3,125. After less than three months in jail, Hamblin was released and his fine was reduced to $1,875.

Hamblin was a member of the Kaysville, Utah 7th Ward of the LDS church as of 1990-02-21. He served an LDS mission to England in the 1960s and was married in the Salt Lake temple in 1969.

Hamblin’s BSA ineligible volunteer file contains a letter dated February 1990 from local BSA council scout executive V. Harvey Mortensen to Hamblin. The letter is carbon copied to Hamblin’s LDS bishop, Melvin D. Peel, and his stake president, Gary L. Telford.

Mortensen’s letter states:

“Dear Mr. Hamblin:

We have received complaints that you are serving as a Webelos Leader in Pack 441, Kaysville 7th Ward, without having completed the registration form to serve in that capacity. It is further alleged that you have not filled out that request to register with the Boy Scouts of America because of your arrest record. […] After careful review of your record before the Second Circuit Court in Layton, Utah and the Second Circuit Court in Bountiful, Utah, we have decided that a request to registration with the Boy Scouts of America would be denied.”

A man who lived near Hamblin according to FLOODLIT’s sources, and who said he was the one who had requested that Hamblin serve as Webelos scout leader, replied to Mr. Mortensen:

“Mr. Harvey Mortensen,

I am writing to you in response to your letter of condemnation sent to Mr. Leroy Hamblin. In your letter you suggest that it is a privilege to serve in a leadership position with the Boy Scouts of America. Certainly you cannot be so naïve as not to realize that the primary reason that most of the local leaders serve is due to religious obligation. Mr. Hamblin has made a sincere effort during the past few years to put his life in order and to mitigate the effects of his grievous sin. A part of Mr. Hamblin’s religious obligation to which he is committed and to which he has reaffirmed his commitment is to provide service when requested by his church leaders.

Mr. Hamblin neither requested nor sought after his appointment to the position of Webelos den leader. He agreed to serve in this position when I requested him to do so a few weeks ago. In retrospect, I did not misjudge Mr. Hamblin but I did misjudge the response of one of the parents of the boys that Mr. Hamblin would serve. I take responsibility for this error in judgement. I also failed to foresee the ignorant, self-serving and self-righteous manner in which you and your organization would respond to this appointment.

Mr. Hamblin is innocent of any offense in his response and his service that he has provided. Mr. Mortensen, you on the other hand have libeled and slandered Mr. Hamblin, and offended by your response all the recipients of your adulterant letter. Your position of responsibility does not include the right or responsibility to promulgate false and evil rumors, or to offend innocent people.

In keeping with the scouting virtues of kindness and courtesy, you simply could have pointed out to us that in keeping with BSA policy or because of BSA liability problems that you could not permit Mr. Hamblin to serve in a scouting function. Instead, you elevate yourself to the position of judge, jury and prosecutor – or should I say lynch mob – in falsely condemning Mr. Hamblin without giving him a chance to defend himself. Mr. Hamblin has never attempted to hide his legal record from you. He had only very recently been called to his scouting position, and his registration was being prepared in conjunction with our rechartering effort.

In keeping with the high ideals of scouting to which you profess, Mr. Mortenson, you owe a complete and sincere apology to all recipients of your wicked letter. I sincerely hope that your integrity is sufficient to allow you to correct this gross injustice.”

Mr. Mortensen wrote a letter on 1990-02-26 to Hamblin:

“Dear Mr. Hamblin:

It is important to do things with the right spirit. Please accept my apology if my first letter was conveyed in the wrong spirit.

I would certainly like to wish you the best in your desire to build and improve your life. However, what was conveyed to you in my first letter had to be done under my training, instruction, and commission as Scout Executive of the Lake Bonneville Council.

Once again, please accept my apology.”

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