Boy claims Scouts leader abused him over merit badges

YORK COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) – A former Yorktown Boy Scouts leader charged with 30 sex crimes is accused of giving massages as punishment, according to one account from an alleged victim in court paperwork.

The York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office said 56-year-old Thomas Seifert is facing 25 counts of felony child sexual abuse while in a custodial role, four counts of indecent liberties with a child by a person in custodial or supervisory relationship, and one count of proposing that a child expose himself.

One alleged victim said he knew Seifert and his family for many years and that he was in Seifert’s troop, according to court documents. The boy claimed Seifert said he would help him become an Eagle Scout, but would set time limits for completing each merit badge. When he did not complete work for the merit badge, Seifert told him to take off all his clothes and stand naked in front of him as punishment, the paperwork said. The boy said Seifert gave him 20 massages as punishments, and during all of them he was with Seifert working on merit badges, according to the court documents.

Three boys have come forward for allegations from the past four years. Deputies said the crimes occurred at a shed at Seifert’s home and at the Edgehill snack shed, where he worked. According to a search warrant, Seifert used an iPad to talk to his victims and other boys online.

The Boy Scouts put Seifert on a list, banning him from the organization in 1988, after a report of abuse, a spokeswoman from the Boy Scouts of America said. He continued scouting years later because of inconsistencies in the spelling of his name, she said.

“There have been instances where people misused their positions in Scouting to abuse children, and in certain cases, our response to these incidents and our efforts to protect youth were plainly insufficient, inappropriate, or wrong,” the statement said. “Where those involved in Scouting failed to protect, or worse, inflicted harm on children, we extend our deepest apologies to victims and their families.”

A Joint Base Langley-Eustis spokesman said Seifert worked as an intelligence specialist for the Air Force Intelligence Surveillance & Reconnaissance Agency.

Seifert has declined to talk to from jail about the accusations and his lawyer has not responded to calls for comment.

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