On opposite sides of the world, the brother and sister sat transfixed before their computers, reading a stranger’s account of long-ago secrets and deeply buried sins.
The memo was just four pages long, about an incident in 1963 at a Boy Scout camp in New Jersey. A Scout executive had gotten drunk during an overnight outing, then was discovered gambling with a group of boys. But there was more.
The brother and sister read on — about how this man “was observed molesting an Explorer Scout sitting at his side.” About how he was admitted, voluntarily, to a mental hospital. They read about an investigation that determined he had tried to molest another Scout. It found that this man’s “problem,” as the document called it, had apparently existed for decades.
They read, too, about a call from this local Boy Scouts council for “suppression of spread of incident beyond group with knowledge of it.” “We know enough to advise that Brandon P. Gray should never again be registered in any capacity with the Boy Scouts of America,” the memo stated.
In Alabama, her face lit by the glow of her computer monitor, Carol Gray sat back. While shocking in its way, none of what she read had really surprised her. The drinking, the abuse. They were sins she knew well, for they were the sins of her father. And she had been a victim.
Eight thousand miles away, in a village in Africa, Jim Gray shared his sister’s sense of numbness. The memo reaffirmed, in stark black and white, what he had also experienced firsthand. “I’m not crazy,” he thought, feeling some semblance of vindication.
Adults now, these siblings say they suffered years of abuse at the hands of their father. For Carol, the nightmare began long before the Boy Scouts learned of Gray’s proclivities and fired him. But for Jim, the end of his father’s scouting career was the beginning of his own torment.