was a Mormon bishopric counselor, seminary teacher and Boy scoutmaster; accused of sexually molesting several boys in his scout troops

Case Summary

Gary Reese was a Mormon church member and alleged child molester in Washington state.

Reese served a full-time mission for the Mormon church in Finland from 1961 to 1964.

In 1986, Reese was serving as a counselor in an LDS ward bishopric in the Lakewood, Washington stake.

Reese had bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Brigham Young University (BYU).

He was employed by the Tacoma Public Library in Washington, where he worked as an archivist at the main library downtown, particularly with the Northwest history collection.

A source familiar with Reese told FLOODLIT.org: “As an adolescent he showed me a book of erotic Japanese photography featuring children and adults that was stored in the library vault. Gary held many church positions but most notably served as stake executive secretary for many years and my belief is that his relationship with a sympathetic stake president insulated him from accountability. The complaints listed here are probably barely scratching the surface, I know for a fact that more boys were groomed and molested by him.”

Reese allegedly actively groomed the boys under his charge for later sexual molestation.

In a civil lawsuit filed against Reese and the LDS church, plaintiffs RD and CD alleged that Reese had sexually abused them on multiple occasions, including during BSA troop meetings at Reese’s home, while on Scouting hikes and campouts, and at the LDS Ward facilities in Lakewood, Washington.

CD said in the lawsuit that he told the local LDS Bishop that Reese had molested him. In response, the LDS Bishop said that the LDS church was aware of Reese’s misconduct and had taken care of the issue, according to CD.”

Reese was accused of sexually abusing two more boys, TS and WS, in another lawsuit. They alleged that Reese fondled their genitals during Scout- related functions in the 1970s and performed other “lewd and lascivious acts.” Reese was not named as a defendant in that suit. TS and WS also said that the local Mormon bishop knew about Reese’s alleged crimes before they joined Reese’s scout troop.

The case was dismissed with prejudice in 2011.

Reese’s attorney, G. Perrin Walker, was a Mormon and BYU graduate who was called in 2001 to be an area authority seventy. Walker was serving at the time as a Boy Scout committee chairman.

Reese died in 2014. He was never married.

Sources
  1. Mormon Church to Open Branch of Genealogical Library Here
    view source details | 18 Dec 1966 | Tacoma News-Tribune
  2. Be a family-tree sleuth
    view source details | 8 Jun 1974 | Tacoma News Tribune
  3. Everybody's ancestor was a name-dropper
    view source details | 24 Aug 1975 | Tacoma News Tribune
  4. Gary Reese: Scouting the Eagle Trail
    view source details | 1 Aug 1986 | Ensign
  5. Reese, Gary Fuller
    view source details | 11 Sep 2023 | BYU Library - Special Collections
  6. R.D. et al v. Boy Scouts of America et al
    view source details | 11 Sep 2023 | Justia
  7. 2
    view source details | |
  8. 3
    view source details | |
  9. GARY REESE OBITUARY
    view source details | 20 Jun 2014 | Legacy.com
  10. 9
    view source details | |
Sources excerpts
  • Mormon Church to Open Branch of Genealogical Library Here
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Tacoma News-Tribune
    Date published/accessed: 18 Dec 1966
    archive 1 | archive 2
  • back to online sources list
    Be a family-tree sleuth
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Tacoma News Tribune
    Date published/accessed: 8 Jun 1974
    archive 1 | archive 2

    (not indexed)

  • back to online sources list
    Everybody's ancestor was a name-dropper
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Tacoma News Tribune
    Date published/accessed: 24 Aug 1975
    archive 1 | archive 2

    (not indexed)

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    Gary Reese: Scouting the Eagle Trail
    Source type: Website
    Publisher: Ensign
    Date published/accessed: 1 Aug 1986
    archive 1 | archive 2

    Gary Reese: Scouting the Eagle Trail

    By Rita W. Happy

    “Choose the things you can be shining in and focus on them to serve.”

    Gary Fuller Reese of the Lakewood Washington Stake subscribes to that philosophy. He emphasizes that it is important to be a “balanced person” as well as identify unique talents that will bless the lives of others.

    Gary took stock of himself after returning from a mission and decided that his skills included genealogy and Scouting. Now, at forty-seven, he has submitted more than thirty thousand names for temple work and has assisted more than fifty young men in attaining the rank of Eagle Scout.

    But observers in the Church and community point out that Brother Reese has developed his abilities in other fields as well. He maintains a cupboardful of ward and stake histories and scrapbooks. He also is noted in the Tacoma-Pierce County area as a knowledgeable speaker and author on local history.

    Gary was born in Logan, Utah, to Perry Leland and Edith Mary Fuller Reese on 2 August 1938, the middle child of three and a descendant of Latter-day Saint pioneers. During World War II, Gary’s father, who was employed at Hill Air Force Base in Utah, moved his family to Tacoma so he could take a job at McChord Army-Air Force Base.

    “Father had tried to join the Army, but he had pernicious anemia. He felt this work was something he could do to help his country,” Gary recalls.

    After short stays in three different houses, the family moved to a five-acre plot in South Tacoma.

    “We raised everything and canned everything because the Church taught us to,” Brother Reese recalls. “We gardened, bought big tunas to can—and Mother even bottled the feet of chickens because she heard they made good soup. We picked berries and made jam. To this day I can’t look a currant in the face!”

    The family soon learned the wisdom of developing provident living skills. Perry Reese died in 1953, leaving two sons and a daughter to be raised by his determined wife, Edith. Knowing she needed additional education, Sister Reese attended a university in Tacoma for two years, Brigham Young University for a year while Gary was there, and then a school in Detroit for a year. Then she returned to Tacoma to take a teaching job.

    Gary’s growing-up years included a try at Scouting. “We had some Scout programs,” he said, “but there were so many changes of advisers that we never got going.” Still, he achieved Star Scout rank and earned enough merit badges for the rank of Life Scout. But he didn’t receive the advancement because he didn’t know how to complete it on his own. He also earned the Duty to God and the old Deseret Recognition awards.

    At BYU Brother Reese earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history, “sweeping floors to earn money to get through school.”

    In 1961 he accepted a call for a 2 1/2 year mission to Finland. He served under two mission presidents and concluded his service as mission secretary and Young Men president.

    Returning to Washington, he earned a second master’s degree, in librarianship, from the University of Washington. Then he took a position at the Tacoma Public Library in 1965. He has been there ever since.

    “I have been assisting in developing an in-depth collection of local history,” he says. In addition to helping develop a number of significant collections, he has been busy as an author and researcher. The library’s computer index lists Gary Fuller Reese as author or editor of twenty works.

    His humorous, story-filled talks on local history are favorites in the Tacoma area. He has spoken to dozens of clubs and service groups and has taught both local history and genealogy at Tacoma community colleges.

    His enthusiasm for historic preservation spilled over from boards and committees into his Scout work. Brother Reese developed a historic trails award which was adopted by the Mount Rainier Council of the Boy Scouts of America. The award can be earned “in about a summer with the help of a Scoutmaster,” he says. LDS Scouts pioneered the way, trying the trails and hunting for the monuments in a five-year pilot study.

    Brother Reese helped design the five-part patch the Scouts earn. When a boy completes requirements for one part of the award, he applies for the basic patch and the “point of the compass” representing that facet of history. Other segments are awarded as each section of requirements is completed.

    Scouts earn the award by visiting historical museums and sites, hiking significant trails and routes including at least ten miles on the “Indian Henry hunting ground” at Mount Rainier National Park, reporting on aspects of area history, and performing some task to help preserve markers and monuments placed in historic locations.

    A former Scoutmaster and now a troop committee member, Brother Reese has gone over those historic routes dozens of times, introducing small groups of boys to their local heritage and to the skills of Scouting. Some weeks he has made three trips to one of his favorite areas, the Carbon River and surrounding foothills that sprawl in the shadow of Mount Rainier.

    “Every hike, every outing, every overnight trip has a focus and can fit into the merit badges I deal with,” Brother Reese says. “Outings can combine service hours for some, Eagle projects for others, and lessons on trees and shrubs for the younger boys.”

    He watches for teaching moments on outings.

    “It’s easy to let them slip by,” he explains, “and sometimes it is hard to create another one. My technique is to build close relationships with each boy so the things we need to do can get done. We have to follow merit badge requirements, but we can make it a learning experience, not an ordeal.”

    Brother Reese has watched boys become confused by the paper shuffling involved in keeping track of awards and work in progress. “Very few kids have the ability to keep their paperwork organized to get the job done,” he comments. “Most boys just don’t know how.” But his complete journal system provides documentation for the boys who fill merit badge assignments under his supervision.

    Brother Reese, who is not married, shares a home with his mother. The house sometimes overflows with boys who are working on Scout projects.

    In addition to his employment and Scouting, he juggles the responsibilities of stake executive secretary, assistant stake clerk, stake historical arts correspondent, and teacher of a teenage Sunday School class. He has held most of these assignments for several years. He served as counselor in a bishopric before being called as stake executive secretary.

    “No one has time to be this involved,” Brother Reese chuckles. “But we all make time to do the things we believe are important.”

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    Reese, Gary Fuller
    Source type: Website
    Publisher: BYU Library - Special Collections
    Date published/accessed: 11 Sep 2023
    archive 1 | archive 2

    biographical statement
    Citation:
    UPB files, Feb. 13, 2013 (senior missionary, director of the MIA program in the Finland Mission)

    Ensign, Aug. 1986 (Gary Reese; Gary Fuller Reese; member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Lakewood Washington Stake; involved in Scouting and genealogy work; local church historian; b. Aug. 2, 1938 in Logan, Utah; parents: Perry Leland and Edith Mary Fuller Reese; moved to Tacoma, Wash. during World War II; attended Brigham Young University, earned bachelor's and master's degrees in history; served mission to Finland, 1961-1964; served in mission office and with Young Men; master's degree in library science, University of Washington, 1965; worked for the Tacoma Public Library, beginning 1965; served in various positions in church, including bishopric member and stake executive secretary)

    News Tribune, Oct. 25, 2007 (Gary Reese; manager of special collections at Tacoma Public Library)
    Found in 1 Collection or Record:
    Gary Fuller Reese collection on the Finland Mission
    Collection — Multiple Containers
    Identifier: MSS 8140
    Scope and Contents

    Contains material for the Finland Mission collected by Reese during his missionary service. Includes lessons to learn the Finnish language, correspondence, mission information, and other material from 1962-1964.
    Dates: 1962-1964
    Found in: L. Tom Perry Special Collections / Gary Fuller Reese collection on the Finland Mission

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    R.D. et al v. Boy Scouts of America et al
    Source type: Court record
    Publisher: Justia
    Date published/accessed: 11 Sep 2023
    archive 1 | archive 2
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    2
    Source type: News article
    Publisher:
    Date published/accessed:
    archive 1 | archive 2
  • back to online sources list
    3
    Source type: News article
    Publisher:
    Date published/accessed:
    archive 1 | archive 2
  • back to online sources list
    GARY REESE OBITUARY
    Source type: Website
    Publisher: Legacy.com
    Date published/accessed: 20 Jun 2014
    archive 1 | archive 2

    Gary Fuller Reese Was born August 2, 1938 in Logan, Utah the second son of 3 children born to Perry Leland and Edith Mary Fuller Reese and was a descendant of the Utah Pioneers. Gary was 75 years old when, on June 9, 2014, he left this life for a better one. He was reunited with his parents who preceded him in death; Perry in 1953 and Edith in 2011. Gary has lived in the Tacoma/Steilacoom area for many years, having come to this area with his parents during World War II, when his father took a job at McChord Air Force Base. His father died when Gary was 15 and his mother, who now found herself the sole support of this little family, practiced the skills of provident living. "We raised everything and canned everything..," he said, "We gardened, bought big tunas to canand Mother even bottled the feet of chickens because she heard they made good soup. We picked berries and made jam. To this day I can't look a currant in the face!" He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in history at Brigham Young University, sweeping floors to earn money to get through school. In 1961 he became a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ, serving in Finland for 2 ½ years. Returning to Washington he then earned a second master's degree in library science from the University of Washington. Upon graduating in 1965 he took a position at the Tacoma public library. He worked there till his retirement in 2004 when he received high accolades for his many years of service to the library and the people of the Puget Sound area. He was passionate about his work. He researched and developed large holdings of historical information. He wrote many books on the history of the greater Pierce County area and beyond. He was a popular speaker and a wonderful story teller. With a twinkle in his eye, he would drop his voice, draw you in, and make you feel like you were the only one in the room as he confided something to you no one had ever heard before. Gary loved the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the LDS church, serving diligently his whole life. He served as scout master for many years and is responsible for helping more than 50 young men reach the rank of Eagle Scout. He held many positions, serving as a Counselor in the Ward Bishopric, Seminary Teacher for the youth, Stake Executive Secretary, Stake Historical Arts Correspondent to name a few. Gary was quoted as having said, "No one has time to be this involved, but we all make time to do the things we believe are important." He lived these words to the highest. Gary Fuller Reese blessed the lives of many, was well loved and will be greatly missed. Services to honor Gary's life will be held Saturday June 14th at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints chapel 5420 104th St SW, Lakewood, Viewing at 9:00 a.m. and church service to follow at 10:00 a.m. Should friends desire, the family suggests you make a memorial contribution to the Boy Scouts of America Pacific Harbors Council-4802 S. 19th St, Tacoma, WA 98405.

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    9
    Source type: News article
    Publisher:
    Date published/accessed:
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Images: Gary Reese LDS sex crime case

Mormon Sexual Abuse Map

International map of locations where active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints perpetrated or allegedly perpetrated sexual abuse or other sex crimes, or where LDS leaders failed or allegedly failed to help abuse survivors.