FOX 29 Investigates: Former Scout Leader Accused of Abuse - KMSP-TV

FOX 29 Investigates: Former Scout Leader Accused of Abuse

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CHESTER COUNTY, Pa. -

A new lawsuit filed against the Boy Scouts and a former scoutmaster by a Chester County mother has the Scouts nationally explaining its actions in the case. Patsy Evasew claims the former scout leader sexually abused her son and it eventually led to his demise.

The images of Thomas Evasew's sad, short life hang on the wall of his folks' Chester County home. "I feel when I touch it, I'm touching him. I miss him so every day. There's not a day that goes by,” says Patsy Evasew. She says she misses the blond boy with the shy smile, she longs for the friendly, teenage Eagle Scout and she aches for her troubled son who struggled with booze and the law.

Evasew says her son ended his life with his father's rifle in a secluded parking lot. “The car blew up, and he burnt to death. When I read the coroner's report it said he had soot in his lungs which meant he was alive when the car was burning, and I just can't get that out of my head. He was alive while the car was burning,” she recalled.

Evasew claims former Chester County Pa. Scout Leader, Charles Christopher Morris, is to blame for her son's troubles. Charles Morris, known as Chris, was a Chester County Pa. Troop 67 scout leader. Tom Evasew was a young scout in Morris’ troop.

In the lawsuit filed by Evasew against the Boy Scouts and Morris, claims Morris repeatedly sexually abused Tom Evasew during the mid-1980s, beginning when he was 11 years old and continuing to the age of 15.

When FOX 29’s Jeff Cole arrived at Morris’ home to ask him about his former scout and the claims of abuse, Morris denied he sexually abused Thomas Evasew.

Patsy Evasew says her son first spoke of his molestation in a tearful, heart-wrenching conversation years after the alleged abuse. She told Cole she asked her son directly if he was abused by Morris, when he served as his troop leader, and her son replied “yes.” “We just hugged each other and cried then,” Patsy Evasew explained.

Patsy Evasew, who is a former school bus driver and a mother of two boys, says in the spring of 2010, she drove to Chris Morris' Chester County home to tell-him-off.

“I walked in and I said Chris, this isn't a social visit and he looked at me and said it's about me sexually abusing Tommy all those years ago,” she recalled. “Yes, he said that was a bad time for me I was sick back then, but I went to see a doctor and I'm better now and I am really sorry about Tommy.”

When Jeff Cole pressed Morris for answers on the deck of his home, he once again denied the abuse or the admission Patsy Evasew claims she heard back in 2010.

Evasew told Jeff Cole she wrote a letter to Chris Morris' daughter, Jennifer Cleveland, telling her about her father's alleged admission to abusing Tom. FOX 29 Investigates obtained the letter Ms. Cleveland wrote in response. In the letter, Cleveland wrote that she spoke to her father about a subject, "…he had no idea how to bring up" she continued "...I can sense the guilt, shame and sadness he feels about something that cannot be changed.”

Cleveland also wrote, "I am glad you had the courage to confront my dad. He has changed so much over the years. I don't see this happening again."

Cleveland did not return a call from FOX 29 Investigates for comment.

Patsy Evasew tells Fox 29 she never went to police with the abuse claims. When asked if she wishes she had, Patsy said “Oh my God yes. If I knew what the outcome was going to be, yes.”

Tom Evasew appears to have written a diary which was found on his computer after his death. It describes instances of sexual abuse by his scoutmaster and locations where it occurred. Attorney Ken Rothweiler, who's a legal analyst for FOX 29, has sued Chris Morris and the Boy Scouts on behalf of the Evasew’s. He charges the Scouts failed to alert the Parents of the sexual abuse allegation facing Morris.

"They want the community to know what Chris Morris did. They put him on a list and shipped that list to Texas and never told anyone about it. And when I say they never told anyone about it I mean the family,” Rothweiler told Jeff Cole.

In a statement to FOX 29 Investigates, the Boy Scouts write:

While we can't comment on pending or active litigation, the behavior included in these allegations runs counter to everything for which the Boy Scouts of America stands. Although it is difficult to understand or explain individuals' actions from decades ago, nothing is more important to Scouting than the safety of our youth members.

We fully recognize the responsibility we have when parents entrust the development and safety of their children to Scouting, which is why BSA policies have consistently evolved along with increased knowledge and best practices, and the BSA is committed to ongoing enhancement.

These allegations remind us of the importance to be ever vigilant when it comes to the safety of our youth. The BSA seeks to prevent child abuse through a comprehensive program of education on the subject, the chartered organization leader selection process, criminal background and other checks, policies and procedures to serve as barriers to abuse and the prompt mandatory reporting of any allegation or suspicion of abuse.

There is another sexual abuse allegation against Chris Morris. The accuser, who asked FOX 29 to hide his face and withhold his name, says he too was sexually abused by Morris while he was a boy scout in Troop 67. "He touched me on my thighs and my genitals," the man told Cole. He went on to say, he was Tom Evasew's friend and that they talked about the abuse they suffered during the same period. While he did not alert the police, the Evasew’s confirm he was part of their son's troop.

The source has provided FOX 29 Investigates with proof of his membership in Troop 67, including merit badges, letters of congratulations from U.S. Senators for becoming an Eagle Scout, and pictures of himself with Chris Morris at scouting events. "He said he was going to teach me to how to stop internal bleeding, when he put his fingers inside of me,” he said. Jeff Cole asked Morris about this claim, but he refused to comment.

Thomas Evasew took his life on Feb. 1, 2012 parked in the same spot Chris Morris used when Troop 67 would gather at a local grange hall for meetings.

In his suicide note Tom wrote, "I'm sorry. I am just a burden to everyone. Do not seek retribution against anyone. I love you all.'

Patsy Evasew says she believes her son killed himself due to the molestation at the hands of Chris Morris.

The attorney for the Boy Scouts, Joseph O'Dea, tells FOX 29 Investigates "law enforcement was promptly notified" in 1995" when the Scouts received the report accusing Christopher Morris of inappropriate conduct with a minor. The BSA claims that is the only report they have against Morris. O'Dea also told Fox 29 the scouts alerted the Chester County Youth Services Department and were told County Detectives would be informed.

Again, Morris was kicked-out of the Scouts; however he was never criminally prosecuted. And the Boy Scouts tell us they now perform criminal background and other checks to serve as barriers to abuse.

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    Friday, July 25 2014 1:36 AM EDT2014-07-25 05:36:56 GMT
    A new lawsuit filed against the Boy Scouts and a former scoutmaster by a Chester County mother has the Scouts nationally explaining its actions in the case. Patsy Evasew claims the former scout leader sexually abused her son and it eventually led to his demise.The images of Thomas Evasew's sad, short life hang on the wall of his folks' Chester County home. "I feel when I touch it, I'm touching him. I miss him so every day. There's not a day that goes by,” says Patsy Evasew. She says she misse...
    A new lawsuit filed against the Boy Scouts and a former scoutmaster by a Chester County mother has the Scouts nationally explaining its actions in the case. Patsy Evasew claims the former scout leader sexually abused her son and it eventually led to his demise.The images of Thomas Evasew's sad, short life hang on the wall of his folks' Chester County home. "I feel when I touch it, I'm touching him. I miss him so every day. There's not a day that goes by,” says Patsy Evasew. She says she misse...
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