Files from the years 1959 to the late 1980s came to light last year as a result of a civil lawsuit in Oregon; they showed that men were excluded from the Scouts but rarely prosecuted. Some went on to work in other youth organizations, with boys the same age as the Scouts they allegedly abused.
After his dismissal on Feb. 7, 1963, Gray went home to his family. Carol was 12 years old. Jim was only 7.
Old memories can flicker and fade. But for Carol and Jim, some memories simply aren’t there, an abyss they say protects them from remembering some of the worst of their abuse.
Carol believes hers began when she was 5 years old. Years of psychiatric help and attempts to recover memories haven’t yielded much more. But a fact from her past lingers: “I believe that mine stopped when Dad started abusing my brother.”
Brandon Gray’s removal from Scouting was, his son said, the beginning of a decade of sexual abuse. It began soon after that February day in 1963 and continued until Jim graduated high school and joined the U.S. Marines Corps.
Unlike Carol, Jim has little trouble remembering. His father would stalk up the stairs and push his way into Jim’s room. Once, when Jim was about 11 years old, his mother walked in to find him and his father engaged in a sexual act. She turned and walked out. A day later, she moved Jim’s entire bedroom upstairs, the posters in the same place they had been in his old room, the bed in the same spot.
It was, he said, his mother’s attempt at physically shunting off the problem she could no longer deny.
“I felt sacrificed,” Jim said.
By age 12 or 13, he recalled, when his father would act distant or give Jim the silent treatment, Jim would initiate sex. It was the only way, he felt, to get his father’s approval.