Fifteen years ago, Vinnie Piotti was arrested at his Poughkeepsie, New York, home, thrown in a state police car, and led to the town court of Hyde Park.
There he was charged with 66 counts of sodomy for “deviant sexual encounters” with a child. Piotti was the scoutmaster of Troop 80 in Hyde Park. I was a Boy Scout in Troop 80, a 13-year-old with a penchant for sleeping in the woods, breaking wood in half with sharp objects, and punching other boys when there were no adults around. Piotti did not rape me, but he raped someone I know. He raped him 66 times, in campgrounds and cabins and his own basement. He raped him for two years, until the boy grew into a man and told him to get his dirty troll hands off him.
I bring this all up because today the Irving-based Boy Scouts of America will be forced by the Oregon Supreme Court to release 1,200 “perversion files,” their pedophile records the group kept from police, families, and vulnerable Scouts for decades.
The files are full of broken childhoods, inconvenient truths, and mountains of lies. They’re full of adults who knew better, and worse, adults who had an opportunity to do something but failed. Somewhere in those 1,200 files is, likely, the story of Vincent Piotti, the man who plucked one boy from his troop for his own sick pleasure.
There are also 21 cases from Dallas, five from both Garland and Plano, four from Mesquite, three each from Irving and Arlington, and a handful from other area suburbs. All told, at least 49 Boy Scouts were manhandled by their scoutmasters within a quick 30-minute drive of the association’s Irving headquarters.
Six years after Piotti was arrested, I received my Eagle Scout award, an award that I give him absolutely zero credit for. As I received that award, I thought of all the Scoutmasters I’d had in the previous 10 years, those who helped me grow into a man. Piotti’s name didn’t cross my mind.
In 2006, he died in the prison cell he deserved more than anyone else I know. He pillaged a boy’s childhood, raping him, literally, from Mexico to Canada. The fact that the Boy Scouts of America cloaked these men for decades is sickening.
No, that’s too easy of a word. It’s curdling, it’s boiling, it’s skin-melting.
Now, thanks to the hard work of the Los Angeles Times, the names of these predators will spill into the public arena.
Bradford Pearson of People Newspapers will soon join DMagazine.com as a full-time writer for FrontBurner.