Citing that oversight, an arbitrator found that Meade hadn't been properly informed, and reduced his punishment to a written reprimand. Bethany wasn't so lucky. After her expulsion from the Explorers, her career in law enforcement was over before it had begun.

Six years later, when an outgoing 18-year-old brunette with chipmunk cheeks and a fondness for police officers signed up as an Explorer, the integrity of Bremerton's police department would again be put to the test. "Natalie" quickly made an immediate impression on both the departmental rank-and-file and the top brass, friending officers on Facebook, chatting with them online, and going on ride-alongs as often as she could.

Having built up her online network, Natalie sought to hang out with her new police friends away from work. One officer took her to dinner and a movie, invited her over, and allowed her to spend the night in his bed, but denied having sex with her. Another, Capt. Tom Wolfe, took Natalie to a pizza joint, where he was seen caressing her inner thigh in public (an assertion he denies), and gave her special assignments that allowed her to bring home confidential paperwork. A third officer, Brandon Greenhill, admitted to inviting Natalie to his house while his wife was out of town and, as a movie played on TV, having sex with her.

San Bernadino deputy Nathan Gastineau allegedly had sex with an underage Explorer.
Courtesy of San Bernardino County Sheriff
San Bernadino deputy Nathan Gastineau allegedly had sex with an underage Explorer.
University of Nebraska professor Samuel Walker was the first to publicize the cops-having- sex-with-Explorers phenomenon in a paper he co-authored in 2003.
Courtesy of Sam Walker
University of Nebraska professor Samuel Walker was the first to publicize the cops-having- sex-with-Explorers phenomenon in a paper he co-authored in 2003.

The first officer, along with four others suspected of improper relations with Natalie, was cleared of wrongdoing by a subsequent department investigation. Wolfe and Greenhill were found to have broken department rules. But because the no-fraternization policy still hadn't made it into the department's official rule book, both officers, like Meade before them, received nothing more than written reprimands. Like Bethany, Natalie was kicked out of the program.

The investigation did yield one positive result: The department's rule book has since been updated. It is now officially forbidden for Bremerton cops to sleep with Explorers.

"To have an incident like that and not have policies in place is inexcusable," says Jeffrey Noble, the police accountability expert. "But then it happens again? That is outrageous. Someone is asleep at the wheel."


In the years since Walker's report brought police-on-Explorer sex into the open, Bremerton has not been the only department faced with an embarrassing lack of leadership.

In Tualatin, Ore., the extent of an Explorer sex case — the second such case in the small department in recent years — which included a female Explorer, three officers, and a state patrolman was not revealed until The Oregonian undertook a months-long investigation. It found that at least a third of Tualatin's 36-member police force had known of the abuse for years before any action was taken.

Two years ago in Madison, Conn., police chief Paul Jakubson resigned after an outside investigation found that he had "deliberately and repeatedly ignored, condoned, and thereby facilitated sexual misconduct" for more than a decade. In addition to turning a blind eye to his officers' having sex with prostitutes, Jakubson allegedly reversed a lieutenant's decision barring an officer from repeatedly taking an underage Explorer on ride-alongs, thereby allowing that officer to continue to have sex with the girl unimpeded.

And earlier this year in San Bernardino, it took months for a complaint from an administrator at a 15-year-old Explorer's school that a sheriff's deputy had an unusually close relationship with the Explorer to result in an investigation that quickly found that the two had been having sex all along. The inquiry found that another deputy was also having sex with a different Explorer. Both men were fired and face criminal charges. A third deputy suspected of similar behavior was allowed to remain in his job.


In a locked, fireproof cabinet at their national headquarters in Irving, Texas, sits a carefully maintained record of the Boy Scouts' most shameful secrets. "The perversion files," as they're known within the organization, hold the names of more than 5,000 suspected child molesters dating back to the 1940s. The documents gained public notice last year, when a former scout from Oregon, suing the Boy Scouts for hushing up his troop leader's serial molestations in the 1980s, successfully fought to get six boxes of the files — containing the names of some 1,200 suspected pedophiles — entered into evidence. A coalition of news organizations have since sued to make those files public. Citing privacy concerns, the Boy Scouts have resisted. The case is now before Oregon's Supreme Court.

Whether the Boy Scouts keep similar records for the Explorer program is not a question the organization is willing to answer. Thus the same culture of secrecy and scandal-aversion that has earned unflattering comparisons to the Catholic Church appears to be at work at Learning for Life. Beyond the organization's opacity is the matter of how it deals with police departments that have proven themselves incapable of keeping their officers' hands off their Explorers. When asked if Learning for Life has expelled, suspended, or reprimanded any police department with an Explorer program for failing to uphold its rules, Thornton declined to answer directly. "[Police] departments investigate and take appropriate action to help insure the quality of the Exploring program and the safety of the youth in those programs," she responded. "If needed, city and county officials would also get involved."

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16 comments
StopChildAbuse-ReadTaxReturns
StopChildAbuse-ReadTaxReturns

It is my firm philosophy that when one wants to stop molestation, abuse of minors, one should go for the money exchanging hands as the "smoking gun." Many times this involves nonprofits, or justice-diversionary programs.

Appreciate the posting of this article. I am wondering how many children would never have been molested if more just normal type, common people learned how to look up charitable returns of major nonprofits that deal with kids -- and call 'em on it when they fail to file.

It's like when something involves "children" or "family" (etc.) the public's mind goes brain-dead. No one likes to deal with corruption -- we prefer to hire others to. However, it's not going to be a free society if we don't understand BOTH patterns of excellence and how patterns of corruption actually happen.

Check it out:www learningforlife org/ about-us/youth-protection-training

I just saw the annual report. It looks just "too" bright, shiny, and carefully multicultural (in TEXAS?) -- and no mention of funding, only testimonials.

There's a "learning for life" foundation EIN# 26-2270708 and then the organization itself, EIN# 75-2396057, no return shows for year 2006. Looks like they are esp. marketing in part to the homeschool/charter school crowd, and have a "Fr." (priest) on a committee. Looking at the highest income year for first EIN#, we see two of the Board of Directors were Scouts, with long tenure, and salary of (Chief) close to $1 mil ($988K) and the other, just short of $500K. "Please donate" to their salaries.

I'm heading off to Texas URLs to see if they've been filing properly with the state. Will report back if I find anything. NB: California charities supposed to be helping kids are notorious (but not notorious enough yet in my opinion) for functioning as channeling money to/from the courts.

Major congratulations to Texas Ranger Hanna (hope the young woman recovered...) and Jonathan Kaminsky for this article. It was far better than the one on California Courts Giving Custody to Pedophiles, which didn't even identify the source of the problem very well.

Happy New Year. Good Job.

Signed, a Mom(I have adolescent (very young adult) daughters who've been in the care of religionists recently, thanks to non-prosecuting law enforcement several years ago + the local family court apparatus)

(note: URL I provided is not mine, it links to an article about a SF charity's fundriaiser)

Rebecca_ae
Rebecca_ae

it is sad but not surprising that men would abuse their power to dominant and take advantage of young women.

Federale
Federale

Riding along every night. Sounds like consent. If a 15 year old goes out to night clubs and dresses like an adult, and sleeps around, San Francisco considers that sexual liberation. But because a Texas cop was invovled it is now rape.

MorttenC
MorttenC

Right!Because getting into a car means an underage girl is agreeing to have sex with any man in that car, especially one she perceives as having power over her physically, and power over her future employment.

Not only did these cops repeatedly molest these underage kids, all the cops who knew about these repeated unlawful and morally reprehensible acts took NO action to stop them. That means there are many more police complicit in these crimes.

There should be enhanced penalties for any public servant who uses their power to commit crimes, especially sex crimes against youths from their own communities.These sexual predators should all be behind bars.

Whoapprovedthatgraphic
Whoapprovedthatgraphic

Looks like the cops are the problem, not the Boy Scouts. Looks like those in charge of the police are not following the very laws they are supposed to enforce. Although I appreciate this article (as it brings a great injustice to light) I feel the blame must remain on the molesters. The Boy Scouts are not hired public servants. The police are.

Citizenwatch
Citizenwatch

Thanks to SF Weekly, now people can see how hypocritical the bad cops are!

Citizenwatch
Citizenwatch

More evidences validate that cops are bad guys

Williesmith692
Williesmith692

These cops enjoy excellent pay & benefit with our hard earned tax money while they are doing the ugly things in the dark corner. SHAME on THEM!!

Adamwong
Adamwong

Then who to arrest these cops?

Gguest
Gguest

The comparison to the Catholic Church is very interesting because it shows that virtually any organization that allows adults to work with children are probably having these same crimes take place.

Gguest
Gguest

How is it that these cops are not charged with rape? Along with a dozen other crimes. It seems that punishment usually is a few days suspension without pay, and of course they have to keep their pensions...

Our society falls deeper into the abyss every day...

Dancy White
Dancy White

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back . I also uploaded my hot photos on w W w.successfulmingle.C//o//m under the name of

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Grownups
Grownups

You can chop you know what off, any adult that takes advantage of their power over a young person who is in their 'trust'. Any servie agency or program that supplies adults as teachers or mentors are ACCOUNTABLE for setting standards of behavior and then monitoring these relationships. "Adults who work with children have a duty of care. They must safeguard children from emotional, sexual and physical harm."

 
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