Richard Halvorson held out the Boy Scouts of America fitness badge he earned as a kid.
“This is what cost me my innocence,” he said. “I had to go into the bathroom with him to get this. No more.”
Halvorson claimed his former Scout leader Angelo Dellomo sexually abused him in the bathroom in 1982. Dellomo is among 52 New Jersey Boy Scout leaders named in recently-released Ineligible Volunteer files. They state that the Boy Scouts of America suspended Dellomo for “scouts performing unusual (nude) physical fitness exercises for skill award” in 1987. The file notes two sets of parents had complained about the leader’s alleged nude exercise regimen.
“It was kind of shocking because what’s written is exactly what happened to me. I thought I was the only one, and it turns out, no I wasn’t,” said Halvorson.
The young scout from Atlantic County Troop 6 had never told his parents. He kept the secret for 37 years.
“And, of course, the first person that I told was my mom. And then I went to some attorneys and they said they couldn’t do anything about it,” he said.
Statute of limitations
The state statute of limitations had run out. But Halvorson just recently contacted more lawyers who dug through Dellomo’s file, which was recently released by the BSA under court order, along with 5,000 others. They saw that the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office never got a copy of the whole file and Dellomo was never arrested or charged. And they discovered something more chilling about Dellomo.
“And he’s now involved with the Boy Pioneers of America,” said Halvorson’s attorney, Jeff Anderson.
Dellomo is listed as director of the Boy Pioneers of North America in Hammonton, near Atlantic City. No one answered the phone there and attempts to reach Dellomo — who is now 71 — were unsuccessful.
Halvorson has filed a civil suit against the Boy Scouts under common law, accusing the organization of “concealing from the public the true nature and scope of the sexual abuse of minors in the BSA” and demanding that it release the remaining 3,000 Ineligible Volunteer files.
“To require the Boy Scouts of America to come clean about that past and release all the perversion files and the identities of the offenders,” said Anderson.
‘You should all know…’
“Everybody’s going to hear it, and I want to know everything that they know. And you should all know what they know,” said Halvorson.
The BSA said in a statement Tuesday, that the organization “… was first alerted to an abuse allegation against Mr. Dellomo in late 1986. We suspended him indefinitely and reported the abuse allegation to the child abuse division of the local county prosecutor’s office so that the appropriate authorities could see the case through. Mr. Dellomo was never reinstated in Scouting. We deeply apologize to Mr. Halvorson and are outraged that Mr. Dellomo took advantage of our program to harm him.”
Halvorson, however, wants BSA to pay punitive damages, and he’s hoping more New Jersey victims will soon be able to sue under a statute of limitations reform bill.
Sources say the governor’s legal counsel currently is going over details of the statute of limitations bill and that the governor is expected to sign it.