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. Expelled from the Explorers, her career in law enforcement was over before it had begun.

Six years later, when an outgoing eighteen-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 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, Captain 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.

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, Oregon, 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, Connecticut, 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 the San Bernardino case, it took months for a complaint from an administrator at a fifteen-year-old Explorer's school that a sheriff's deputy had an unusually close relationship with her to result in an investigation that quickly found that they'd been sleeping together 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 has 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
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Happy_Happy_Happy_90
Happy_Happy_Happy_90

........I Саn`t bеlеivе...Мy friеnd`s sistеr mакеs 78/hr оn thе intеrnеt. Shе hаs bееn unеmрlоуеd fоr 11 mоnths but lаst mоnth hеr incоmе wаs 7985$ јust wоrкing оn thе РС fоr а fеw hоurs. Read on this wеbsitе....... C a s h M a n y . c о m

Brad Hicks
Brad Hicks

Any organization that allows adults unsupervised access to other people's minor children, under any circumstance, is just setting itself up for this kind of trouble; not because such setups encourage such behavior, but because if someone prone to such behavior gets into such an organization, there is nothing stopping them, and little or no chance of catching them. Doesn't matter if it's cops, teachers, doctors, clergy, anybody: if they're going to be with kids, they need to not be alone with them. That there are any organizations left that don't realize this and do something about it, after several decades' worth of scandals? That there are any organizations left who think "it can't happen here, because none of our people would do that"? Just blows my mind.

Wesley Mcgranor
Wesley Mcgranor

Such (and more) delinquency seems to be standard in policing. The test great-grandfather had, must be impassable for these postmodern types. Heres a tip, at least make marriage a part of such a ritual.

CHUCK ZITO
CHUCK ZITO

men perverts use that clean cut short haired yuppie office geek look to fool kids and parents into thinking they are good guys and can be trusted. you ever notice that little detail? its all a con job so dont fall for it parents or you kids. wise up to clean cut perverts and their ways.

CHUCK ZITO
CHUCK ZITO

Blame Satan 666 the Devil. 666 he is behind all evil sin. he use humans as his hand puppets and this is another one of the results of that. is that simple enough for ya?

Goodscouter
Goodscouter

It is unfortunate that in large youth organizations, like in the BSA and Learning for Life, that a few bad apples pop up, take advantage of the situation, and make the reputation of these two enriching programs look evil where the majority of good volunteers really make it a positive growth experience for teenagers. It is interesting how dated some of the stories are. With current youth protection standards, ride alongs have to consist of the same gender participants. That some departments outside of the Saint Louis area let male leaders take out female Explorers just floors me. This should serve as a wake up call to departments to review the rules and training annually and keep the program on the up and up for the youth. The national Learning for Life office does conduct one heck of a great Law Enforcement Conference for 4,000 Explorers bi-annually.

check engine
check engine

Seems Rock Hill Coed Post 544 was1st not LA.Started about 1971, with first campout at Mid-America Wentzville SCCA race.By 1976 was probably world largest, as general interest with no police.Parties much more fun outdoors in large groups, rather than in back seats

Wolfinstl
Wolfinstl

"...mostly leaving police departments to police themselves". Move along citizen, nothing to see here.

smash44
smash44

Isn't it nice to now the Good Ole Police Unions will see to it they all receive their taxpayer-provided pensions -- for rapists.

MandoMadMan
MandoMadMan

Although I like and respect the policemen I know - like my friend says, "There are scoundrels in every line of work."

Sexually abusing teens - that's pretty low.

CHUCK ZITO
CHUCK ZITO

you should read the cops gone bad website. cops are more evil and criminal now days than the so called bad guys they chase.

Paythepriceasyougo
Paythepriceasyougo

Some of these stories would be good for Riverfront Times Crap like a Mexican.

Boy Scout Supporter
Boy Scout Supporter

amazing that this article tries to place a disproportionate blame on the scouting program

when the explorers was spun off, due to 'demands' to be more 'inclusive of girls, many of the issues the boy scouts were dealing with previously were being addressed, like no one-on-one contact (due to pedophiles searching out boys in the scouts) and requiring certain training and background checks (ensuring no predators allowed in a position of leadership)...as well as no homosexuals

these positions, at the time, were branded as homophobic and religiously driven...and many shunned the boy scout organization...even to this day...

and when an explorer scout chose the law enforcement path, the scouting organization still had the charter PD fill out the necessary paperwork and required training...

and they were police officers, right?

what else would you want the scouts to do?

maybe the should audit every public school, since we all know date rape is occuring on a monthly basis in the bathroom stalls, right?

or have all the students take a drug test randomly throughout the year, because we know many of them are experimenting with drugs?

sooner or later, you have to have faith that an organization run by adults has the best interests of kids in mind...

if not, lock your kids up in a closet...

u can keep kids safe
u can keep kids safe

It amazes me that some are still surprised when they hear about stuff like this. No one in society is "above" committing acts of pedophilia and underage sexual assault including cops. Time and again the media shows that those people we feel should be most trustworthy - coaches, police, politicians, teachers, doctors, etc. - are capable of deviant sexual behavior with children.

This story is another example of why there should always be increased scrutiny of anyone anytime children are involved. If something seems suspect than it probably is. Never just assume things are okay because of the trust placed in that person or the length of time they've been doing their job.

Miker54
Miker54

Convict, jail and tatoo "Child Molester" on offender's forehead and let nature run it's course.

 
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