Former Hewlett scoutmaster named in ‘perversion files’

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Former Hewlett Boy Scout Troop 115 Scoutmaster and Valley Stream resident Michael J. O’Hara was named as one of the roughly 200 people in New York and New Jersey who were identified as sexually abusing kids in the so-called “perversion files,” that were released on April 23 by Jeff Anderson & Associates.

According to the documents, O’Hara was a part of the Boy Scouts from 1961-66. He resigned in 1966 after a boy reported that O’Hara had sexually assaulted him at scout camp. No legal action was taken at the time. O’Hara was 23 at the time of his resignation.

The files included a letter from an anonymous person to former Nassau County Boy Scouts Executive Donald Teisberg that detailed O’Hara’s sexual abuse, which led Teisberg to write in a letter on Aug. 23, 1966 that O’Hara “should be put on the Red Flag List.”

In all, the law firm revealed at least 7,819 accused child sex abusers in scouting and at least 12,254 victims.

 "We believe victims, we support them, and we have paid for unlimited counseling by a provider of their choice," Boy Scouts of America stated. "Nothing is more important than the safety and protection of children in Scouting and we are outraged that there have been times when individuals took advantage of our programs to abuse innocent children."

Anderson issued a rebuttal statement on April 24. “All the pledges and promises from the Boy Scouts of America fall short,” he said. “The reality is, they have to identify the names of thousands of offenders from their secret files. The Boy Scouts need to come clean and inform the communities who these people are, what they did, and where they are today. Through a simple keystroke, they have the ability today to release the names and locations of every offender that sexually abused children. Absent that, any effort, promise, pledge, practice is falling short of protecting kids. This is a time for action and truth, not a time for excuses, promises or policies.”

Most of this information had been part of news stories published in 2012.

On April 30, the Diocese of Diocese of Rockville Centre added two priests' names to the list of credibly accused pedophile priests.

The Rev. Harold H. Paul, while assigned to St. Joseph’s R.C. Church in Hewlett  in 1961, was accused of sexually abusing a boy when the child was roughly 10 years old.

The Rev. Edward J. Byrne, while assigned to St. Barnabas Apostle Church in Bellmore in 1971 and 1972, was accused of sexually abusing a boy who was 11 or 12 years old.

"By delaying the release of a list of pedophile priests, the Diocese of Rockville Centre continues secrecy which helps continue the wholesale sexual abuse of children," attorney Mitchell Garabedian stated in an email.