So I see myself, as you know. There's kind of there's two people there's. The man. Who goes to work, who loves his wife and loves his children? He tries to do the right thing. But. Inside is a I call it a tent, but I think sometimes when I used to dream about it, it looked more like a cage. And inside the cage is a small, terrified, hurting child. And he's lonely. He's in despair.
He's suffering. But oh, my God, is he angry? From a New York Times, I'm Michael Barbaro. This is The Daily. When the Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy this year, it created a final window for claims of sexual abuse against its leaders. There are now more than 92000 of those claims, far more than against the Catholic Church. Today, my colleague Mike Baker with the story of one former scout. It's Thursday, December 3rd.
How's your day going? Pretty good, it's kind of early in the day, so it's only 9:00 here in the morning. Yeah, you're in Hawaii, where abouts? Oahu. So I'm in Honolulu right now. Dave Hansen is 40 years old. He's a big guy, six foot three, 240 pounds. He works in the Navy and lives in Hawaii. He grew up in a mobile home in Denton, Texas, where his mom and dad worked all the time.
And, you know, when my dad came home from work, he was tired and we did stuff, but we didn't do a lot of, you know, like throwing the ball back and forth or, you know, most of it was, you know, entertain yourself.
And my brother and I, we watched him and he and the masters of the Universe. We watched Ninja Turtles.
Like Master Splinter says a ninja is always prepared if you watch Tejo like everything from.
And he told me he collected toys or anything like that, you know, he always collected the bad guys, I always collected the good guys. Typically, I would categorize myself as the good guy. I always wanted to be the hero.
My grandparents on my father's side, my mama and papa, and they were always watching Gunsmoke, Gunsmoke, John Wayne lived most of my life in the wild country and he said, I go to law school if I wanted to be John Wayne.
I liked how cool and composed he was and what would be wrong.
I won't be insulted. He was the hero and he did it without hurting innocent people. And it was was a good role model.
I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people. I require the same from them.
It was just what I watched all the time, but my brother and I, I guess we're spending too much time around the house with nothing to do. And so my parents kind of mentioned Boy Scouts.
Do you remember your first impressions of sort of what the Boy Scouts were and what you were going to be doing there?
Yeah, I mean, I thought we were going to be doing a bunch of camping and not tying, and I was super excited to chop wood and to use my pocket knife and climb trees. I mean, that's kind of what I was looking to do. And, you know, there was a lot of new people and the uniform was cool at the time and I was excited about it.
I'm curious, just even at that age, you know, are you thinking that this is kind of an extension of your sort of good guy personality at that point?
Yeah, I mean, that's you know, they're their core values, boys of every height and weight and lung power, every age and creed and color, all of that, you know, trustworthy, kind, obedient, those all things could connect with.
And from every county in the USA, they share only a driving zest for fun and an active quest for challenge and their great adventure of growing up.
I remember when I first got there, they were talking about Eagle Scout projects. They were planting trees in some park somewhere. And I was like, well, that's pretty cool. So I like digging holes.
Dave says he latched on to the Boy Scouts pretty quickly. He went to meetings every week, camp outs every three weeks or so, and he was into it. He enjoyed collecting the badges and advancing up the ranks. And there was one leader in the troop who took special interest in him.
Tony was really the only adult that was outside of my family who was ready and willing to be a mentor and to teach me things. And he taught me things with patience. And he was very engaging, very good at making you comfortable. And he had a lot of knowledge to share. He had been in the Boy Scouts for a long time. He was an Eagle Scout. You know, I'm sure if if there was somebody there snapping pictures of the campsite, any time you took a picture of him, you probably saw me in the background and you said Tony's an Eagle Scout.
What to you was an Eagle Scout then? You know, Eagle Scout was, you know, the top of the game. They were, you know, the best of the best. They had the dedication to get there. They had a lot of knowledge. You hear Eagle Scout, you know, and you you just think good and right. And I guess that's kind of really what I thought at the time, is that that's you know, it was it was kind of in awe of anybody who had the Eagle Scout rank.
And so what's Tony's role? He's an assistant scoutmaster. And so how old is Tony? He's 20. He's 20 when I'm 10. Dave and Tony spent a lot of time together in Dave, looked up to Tony, trusted him, felt safe with him. Tony would take Dave on overnight hikes and teach him survival skills like how to build a fire, how to cook while out in nature at this point. Dave had turned 11 and here the story gets graphic.
Typically, we would go up to there's a nature reserve by Fort Sill. Right across the border into Oklahoma. Right. And that's that's typically where we would go to camp. I don't remember ever sleeping in a tent that didn't have Tony in it, you know, with other boys or anything like that. So we had camped probably three or four times already. And then there was that one night where. I, uh, I guess I can get into it now.
There was that one night where I woke up and he was touching me. He was his hands were all over my privates and I froze and he froze and nobody moved in. I didn't really understand what was going on, and, um. You probably sat like that for, I don't know, maybe five, 10 minutes, it could have been forty five seconds. I don't know, it just seemed like it was forever. I could just feel him touching me.
And then he just starts talking to me first. Can you remember what he was talking about, I think like the day or something like that, like the climbing that we did that day or, you know, and then. After about some other unknown time period, he started moving his hand again and then. And then as he as he moves through it, he starts talking to me about, you know, my body. Hmm. And then he mentions that, you know, he's been doing this for a while.
But there was the first time I woke up from it. And I know I just remember just being there, frozen in the dark, you know, it's like the middle of the night probably it's pitch black outside. It's pitch black in the tent. I can hear him moving around and then his mouth is on me and. Again, I still really not sure what's going on. I've never really felt that feeling before. And then I just remember being on my stomach at that point.
And then his weight on top of me and. I just remember his weight was very heavy. And it wasn't just his weight, it was like the whole weight of the situation, I didn't feel like I could move. I felt like I was pretty much strapped down everywhere. I wasn't physically strapped down, but I felt like I was and then I kind of remember just. I kind of remember separating from my body. You know, like a pan out from a movie that you would see in, you know, I, I don't remember a lot after that.
All I really remember is the pain and the darkness in the wait. Those are the three things that I always remember. When the dawn came, it was you wake up, I was kind of already awake, didn't sleep very well after that. But, you know, I mean, he. Like nothing happened. Same same conversation, same attitude, like normal, whenever he would, he would wake us up or he would start to get out of the tent.
It was the exact same. So it was like nothing occurred. You know, I latched on to that and then, you know, responded in kind that if nothing happened. Did you tell anyone about what what had happened? No, no, I did not. Why not? Because I was afraid of the repercussions, I didn't know what it meant. Dave didn't know what to make of what had happened to him here. Remember, he's 11 years old at this point.
He didn't realize that he was being abused. There were all these thoughts that were swirling in his head and he worried about what this meant for his sexuality, whether he'd get in trouble, even whether his family would reject him. David, did the abuse keep happening? Oh, yeah, over the entire five years, from about ninety one to ninety six, did you ever think of leaving the Scouts when you were that age?
No, I. I tell you, I don't remember a lot about my childhood after that night. It's hard to really think about what my motivations were. What my thoughts were. I think I kind of went on kind of went on autopilot, so, you know, I would still communicate with my parents if they would communicate with me. The friends that I currently did have, I still hung out with them. You know, other than that, you know, I just I remember being feeling alone a lot, feeling different from everybody else, feeling they've started to withdraw emotionally at scouting events at school and also from his family.
And then when he was 15 years old, he stopped going to the Boy Scout meetings altogether together. But he continued to see Tony and he didn't really understand why a part of him still wanted Tony's mentorship and that connection to a role model. When was the last time that you saw Tony? We got together to go, there was an indoor climbing place that he would pick me up every now and then to go to. And then typically, either on the way there, on the way back, he would have to, you know, stop by his apartment for something and then that always led to.
To sex. Or to being raped, however you want to say it, and then afterwards we're in his car. And we're driving back to the house by house to drop me off, and he he mentioned to me that he had a friend that if I was interested, would pay to have sex with me.
And then he asked me to think about it, and then he dropped me off and I think it was at that point. It kind of like broke whatever trance I think he had me in or whatever connection that we had that still tied me to him. And, you know, I stopped returning his phone calls. I didn't really speak to him after that. So at that point, you broke ties with Tony, is that right? Yeah. They didn't report, Tony, to the authorities.
He was just trying to get through high school, he played football and he dated, but he didn't have many friends and he had issues with fighting after he graduated from high school. He had a couple of jobs stocking shelves at a department store, sorting mail for UPS. He wasn't really motivated to apply to college, but he really wanted to get out of Texas. I did end up joining the Navy in 2001 when I was 20. Once I turned twenty one, I found alcohol and that was.
A new beginning in my life, because when I drink enough. I felt relaxed in a room I could communicate with people. I could have fun. But I didn't understand when to stop, you know, it's like. You know, somebody who's, you know, in the desert and they're starving and they finally get somewhere and they're like, oh, I'm so, so hungry. So they eat. Everything they can, but, you know, you're going to hurt yourself, and that's kind of the way it was with the drinking, it wasn't the alcohol.
It was I felt free from. The tent. I felt free from the anxiety, the fear, the anger, and I liked it. And but I was obsessive about it, and I was pretty much either at work or I was drunk or getting drunk. Dave's drinking got so bad that the Navy forced him to enroll into a substance abuse program and he started going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. We're sitting in probably my fourth or fifth AA meeting and somebody was getting up again, they were talking about alcohol and you know, what alcohol meant to them.
And, you know, and it's just like, hey, none of this relates to me. I don't. I don't have an alcohol problem. I don't have a problem with alcohol. I started thinking about that and thinking about that, and then in one of the group sessions, you know, it kind of just it just came out of my mouth that, you know. I don't have an alcohol problem. I was molested as a child. And hearing me say that that first time, it was intense, a lot of crying, I started spiraling out of control then I didn't really know what to do.
I didn't know where to go. And I buried it down again as deep as I could go. And tried to continue on like nothing happened, like nothing occurred. So I met my wife in two thousand three late 2003, and, you know, she had two kids and we started to spend a lot of time together. And eventually, you know, very shortly after that, I think about four or five months we got married. I was twenty three, barely able to take care of myself, and I was a husband with two children.
But they're the reasons why I stopped drinking. They my wife and the children included, they they saved my life in that time period. Over the next couple of years, they've worked a lot as a Navy guy who was often on a submarine or a ship and there wasn't a lot of downtime. But when he was home, he was spending it with family and he and his wife went on to have two more kids. And he described this period as a happy one.
These were good years for him. But then I think it was really in 2009 that I. I had a spiral, one of his sons came to him with a request. My oldest son wanted to join the Boy Scouts. My first reaction was no, no, no, no, no. We'll be right back. When you sell on Amazon, there's room to grow, ways to move and countless reasons to believe that your brand can do more.
Amazon can help you set up your products and tell your brand story, give you access to insightful analytics and even help with shipping customer service and returns through fulfillment by Amazon. Sign up at Sells at Amazon.com, slash the daily and get ready to grow, ship, sell and thrive. Start selling on Amazon today at DOT. Amazon.com slash the daily. So when does the Boy Scouts sort of first come up in your family is so my son had a friend that was in the local chapter and, you know, he came home one day and talked about his friend and how much fun his friend was having.
And then he wanted to be a part of it and. My wife kind of looked at me and, you know, she was like, oh, it sounds fine, let me talk to Dave downstairs because our room was downstairs at the time. So we went downstairs and I pretty much immediately threw up in the downstairs bathroom. My wife is trying to explain to me that not every man in the world is a pedophile. You know, we will make sure that we go to the meetings and that we really, truly know the people that he's going to go on the campout with.
And eventually in communicating with my wife and, you know, not wanting my fears to inhibit the children from being able to be children. We let him join.
I started going to the meetings. I'd be very angry, I want to break something, kill somebody, blow up something, I'm sitting against the wall on a chair, not interacting with anybody. All I'm doing is watching the adults, how close they stand to somebody else, you know, where do they put their hands?
What are they looking at? You know, what clothes are they wearing and what shoes are they wearing? I searched all their names on Predator websites.
I was just looking for any indication that they were possibly a pedophile. When I would get back from the meetings, I would typically throw up. Does your son at this point know that this is going through your mind? No, he doesn't know anything at this point. Did he know about your history now? Did you get the sense that he had some inclination that you were really uncomfortable with this whole situation?
Yeah, he he would always ask me if I was OK on the way back and, you know, was I upset about something? And the first campout he went on, I almost got into my truck three or four times to go drive and go pick him up or do a spot check, random check of where people were sleeping in tents. But my wife convinced me that probably was not a great idea to storm into a camp out in the middle of the night.
Eventually, my wife got tired of me coming home, tore up, so she forbid me from going to any of the meetings anymore, and then she absolutely refused to let me go on one of the camp outs.
But within months, their son was souring on the Boy Scouts. They did one camp out where it wasn't supposed to rain and they had this long 10, 12 mile hike to do. My son is flat footed and I had poured rain the entire time. They had marched through all this rain and mud and he had a miserable experience. He came back on Sunday. He slept most of Sunday. When he came home from school Monday, he was still exhausted from the trip.
And he's just like, oh, I don't know if the Boy Scouts are for me. I don't really want to do it anymore. And, you know, I was sitting on the couch next to him and I was like, done, you never have to go back. And, you know, we got rid of his Boy Scout uniform. I mean, I don't think that camping gear, at least the stuff that had like the Boy Scout emblem on it, I don't think it last in the house for another five or ten minutes.
It was on the curb. Last year, Dave reached a breaking point. You know, I couldn't box it up anymore. I didn't have a box that was strong enough, that was big enough. I didn't have a box to be able to push it down. And then, you know, every day of my life, whenever I would leave the house, whenever I would go outside, you know, I would put on this stoic man's man exo suit where I showed no weakness.
I showed the ability to be angry, to be aggressive with other people, to be the alpha male in the room. That is the person I was all the time outside the house. And I didn't like that person. But that person is what the exo suit, the suit of armor that I would wear that I. Thought was going to keep me safe and my family safe and. It just got too hard to be that person. It got too hard, too difficult to put that suit of armor on, that exo suit on and to walk around the day.
It was too heavy. I just couldn't do it anymore.
Dave and his wife decided to check him into the hospital so he could get some professional help.
Nineteen was a good but very, very difficult year last year is when, you know, I really, really started to actually work on trying to heal, trying to understand what occurred, understand my thought processes and how they relate to the abuse in the way that I think the way that I see the world, the way that I see myself.
At night, I would go to sleep and I would every now and then I would dream of just these these eyes looking back at me. And it's the eyes of unnamed boys that I could have protected but didn't because I never reported it. And I just I would sit at a bench looking at an open field. And in my mind, I would go over this event. You know, this it was always the same. It was, you know, a child standing in the middle of this field and then a bear or a mountain lion or something would be charging the child.
Or sometimes the child would be standing in the middle of the street and it would be a car coming. And I would just have this image over and over and over again of running out there, saving the child, but dying in the process. And I felt for such a long time that that's that's how I had to die. I needed to die that way so that maybe I could redeem myself for my inaction by giving the ultimate sacrifice for a child.
That's what I feel on the inside most of the time, because I have that voice that's constantly reminding me that I did nothing. I reported no one. You know, I'm not a man. I am weak. I'm scared, useless. And I'm still working on it, I want to be comfortable crying in front of other people, I want to be comfortable showing emotions in front of other people. I want to be comfortable with asking somebody for help.
I want to be comfortable with communicating with other males in a non professional environment. I would like to have a friend that would be kind of nice. I think I am part of a men's group that meets monthly and I see my therapist once every two weeks or my psychologist and I see a psychiatrist once every four weeks for medication. Let's get a little bit easier. Every day I wear a thinner suit, a lighter suit, but still I'm not I'm not there yet.
Dave said the therapy compelled him to try and do something about the abuse and something about Tony.
So in twenty nineteen I did call Texas CPS Child Protective Services. I gave them my name. I gave them the dates. I gave them Tony's name. Their response to me was that they would pass the information on to law enforcement. But since there was no active child in danger, which my response to that was, how do you know they couldn't really do anything? So. That was a ginormous kick in the face. But soon, Dave found out that he wasn't the only one with allegations of abuse as a Boy Scout, that there were actually thousands of other boys who said they'd been abused, too, for a long time.
These men couldn't bring a case against the Boy Scouts because too much time had passed since the alleged abuse happened. But Dave learned that many victims could now sue the Boy Scouts because of changes in state and local laws that allowed people to file a claim, even if the alleged abuse happened many years ago. And so Dave decided to join them and file a claim. It's been healing for me. It's been good for me to be a part of that that process.
I'm hoping that this effort to hold the Boy Scouts accountable will cause change. These lawsuits started piling up. And so the Boy Scouts decided to file for bankruptcy in February of this year. And that might sound like the organization is going under, but that's not what's happening. The Boy Scouts are actually using this bankruptcy case to try and survive, saying, OK, well, we'll compensate the victims, but there's going to be a limit. The court set a deadline for people to come forward and file their claims within nine months.
Thousands of claims have poured in nearly one hundred thousand. That's about 10 times the number of sexual abuse allegations that the Catholic Church faced in the early 2000s. Each one, like Dave, is asking the Boy Scouts to compensate for their abuse. That, to me, is what the lawsuit is about, the lawsuit is about cost, because when you're talking about major companies and you're talking about making significant change to establish processes, to hire people, train them appropriately, send them around the country, depending on how you structure it, that's going to take money.
It's going to take time. And people are not willing to. Pay that price and they won't be until something terrible happens. And my message to the Boy Scouts is that something terrible has happened. You've had multiple boys be molested multiple times. And how many boys did commit suicide? How many men have we lost? Because they couldn't handle. All of the pain and all the despair and all the anger that comes from being molested as a child. Are you going to one hundred percent prevent it?
No, no organization can 100 percent prevent it, but you can significantly reduce numbers. You know, I think back to my time in scouting is like I don't even understand why I was in Tony's tent. Like, that doesn't make any sense to me. I mean, what scoutmaster or other scout leaders that were there on this campout thought that was a good idea. But they did. They accepted it because they trusted Tony. That was it. It was blind trust and blind trust to me is a mistake.
And now change has to be made. And if that change has to be through the Boy Scouts paying money to thousands of men, then. I can only hope that the other organizations that are also in charge of youth are trying to develop youth and are trying to do good for the world, takes the appropriate steps, establishes the right processes, spends the money that it has to spend to be able to ensure the safety of our children. Dave, thanks so much for your time and thanks for your willingness to talk about it.
Really appreciate it.
I never know how to respond to that. So you're welcome. Uh. We'll be right back. When you sell on Amazon, there's room to grow, ways to move and countless reasons to believe that your brand can do more. Amazon can help you set up your products and tell your brand story, give you access to insightful analytics and even help with shipping customer service and returns through fulfillment by Amazon. Sign up at sales at Amazon.com, slash the daily and get ready to grow, ship, sell and thrive.
Start selling on Amazon today at Zelle Dot. Amazon.com slash the daily. Here's what else you need to know. This is a monumental step forward.
It's no longer if there's going to be a vaccine, it's when on Wednesday, Britain gave emergency authorisation to a vaccine against the coronavirus made by Pfizer becoming the first Western country to allow for mass inoculations against the virus.
This is a day to remember, frankly, in a year to forget.
Similar emergency authorization in the United States could come as early as next week.
And we're in that range potentially now starting to see fifteen hundred to 2000 to 2500 deaths day from this virus.
During a news conference, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Robert Redfield, warned that the country faced a devastating winter during which deaths from the coronavirus could approach 450000 by February.
The reality is December and January and February are going to be rough times. I actually believe they're going to be the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation.
On Wednesday night, the number of covid-19 patients in American hospitals exceeded 100000 for the first time in the pandemic. That's it for The Daily, I'm Michael Barbaro. See you tomorrow. When you sell on Amazon, there's room to grow, ways to move and countless reasons to believe that your brand can do more. Amazon can help you set up your products and tell your brand story, give you access to insightful analytics and even help with shipping customer service and returns through fulfillment by Amazon.
Sign up at sales at Amazon.com, slash the daily and get ready to grow, ship, sell and thrive. Start selling on Amazon today at Zelle Dot. Amazon.com slash the daily.