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Man named in Scouting abuse dies at 66

Rodger L. Beatty, who allegedly molested five boys in his troop in the 1970s, suffered a massive stroke in September.

November 15, 2012|By Kim Christensen, Los Angeles Times
  • A University of Pittsburgh Web page shows a photo of Rodger L. Beatty and information about his work for the university.
A University of Pittsburgh Web page shows a photo of Rodger L. Beatty and… (University of Pittsburgh )

A University of Pittsburgh educator and AIDS researcher who was the subject of a recent Los Angeles Times story about alleged sexual abuse in the Boy Scout troop he led in the mid-1970s has died six weeks after suffering a massive stroke.

"It was with great sadness that we announce the passing of Rodger L. Beatty," read a Facebook message his family posted late Monday. Beatty, 66, had been hospitalized or in hospice care since a Sept. 28 stroke left him largely unable to communicate.

His friends and family said they were stunned by allegations, detailed Oct. 21 in The Times, that Beatty abused five boys in the troop he led in Newport, Pa., more than three decades ago. The boys, all 13 or 14 at the time, submitted handwritten accounts describing repeated molestations by Beatty at his house and on camping trips.

The statements, which are included in the Boy Scouts of America's "ineligible volunteer" file barring Beatty from Scouting in 1976, were corroborated in recent interviews with the newspaper by two of the former Scouts, Carl Maxwell Jr. and Mike Kunkel, both now 50. Two of the other former Scouts are dead and a third could not be reached.

The Times attempted to contact Beatty in early September, more than two weeks before he fell ill. He did not respond to repeated email and phone messages.

Beatty, then a county drug and alcohol counselor, resigned the day the accusations surfaced and abruptly left town, citing increased job demands. He was among hundreds of suspected molesters, many of whom were respected in their communities, who were never reported to authorities by the Scouts, according to The Times' review of 1,900 of the organization's confidential files.

Beatty went on to earn a graduate degree in community psychology from Penn State University and a doctorate in social work from the University of Pittsburgh, according to a 2011 resume and his University of Pittsburgh biography.

He worked for more than three decades in public health programs, some tailored to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, and had held several jobs with the Pennsylvania Department of Health. In 1998, he became an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh in the Graduate School of Public Health's department of infectious diseases and microbiology.

Dozens of his friends and colleagues offered their sympathies on Facebook on Tuesday. "Rest in Peace dear Rodger ... So very sorry," one wrote. "To all who hold Rodger near to their hearts, may you find comfort and peace in the many beautiful memories that you have had with this gentle man."

For his part, Kunkel said he takes no joy from Beatty's death.

"I don't wish ill on anybody," he said. "But because of his actions, I would never mourn the guy."

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