Boy Scout Troop 137
Boy Scout Troop 137 is a New Orleans-based Boy Scout troop organized during the 1970s that served as a front for a pedophile ring with nationwide connections. Multiple other prominent child sex rings of that era were connected to the operation.
- Richard Halvorsen
- Raymond Woodall
- Robert Lang
- Delta Project (of John Norman)
- Boys Farm Inc. (of Rev. Bud Vermilye)
- North Fox Island pedophile ring (of Francis Shelden, Dyer Grossman, Gerald Richards, and Adam Starchild)
Raymond Woodall and Robert Lang also ran an "escort" operation that outwardly branded itself as a tour guide service for out-of-state visitors to Louisiana. In a 1979 interview, Woodall claimed that many of the clients were politicians, including several congressmen and a Senator as well as numerous high-level state government officials in one state. The district attorney's office under Harry Connick Sr. acknowledged knowing about the "tour guide" prostitution ring while building the Troop 137 case, but neglected to investigate. Woodall claimed that only adult men were involved in the operation, but a state witness from the Troop 137 case who was a former friend of Woodall indicated that Woodall later shifted to employing boys.
Amy Billig disappearance
Main article: Franklin child sex ring#amybillig
17-year-old Amy Billig disappeared from Coconut Grove FL (near Miami) in 1974 and has never been found. The evidence in her case suggests that she was abducted by a biker gang and sold into international sex trafficking, with the complicity of a local US Customs Service agent named Henry Johnson Blair. Another little-noted fact about Billig's disappearance, however, is that she attended the Adelphi Academies in Coral Gables FL, which was one of the fronts set up for this pedophile ring and even had ringleaders Halvorsen and Woodall working there under cover of being maintenance men. If Billig was selected as a sex trafficking target, it might therefore have begun at the school.
Robert Lang was suspected of having a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) affiliation by the detectives who busted the ring. During their raid, they found documentation and photographs establishing that Lang had served in all four major branches of the US military, which is effectively impossible except for intelligence assets who are "sheep-dipped" into such positions. Backing up the detectives' suspicion is the apparent protection that Lang received: while most participants in the ring received multi-year if not multi-decade prison sentences, Lang merely received probation and his whereabouts are no longer known (there is some doubt that Robert Lang was even his real identity). It should be noted that the prosecutor of the Boy Scout Troop 137 case was New Orleans district attorney Harry Connick, who destroyed many of the files from his predecessor Jim Garrison's probe into the JFK assassination and obstinately refused to prosecute New Orleans pedophile priest Dino Cinel.
- Chicago Tribune, "How ruses lure victims to child pornographers", 1977/05/17 (pages 1, 8): "A case in New Orleans, which led to arrests in other parts of the country, further demonstrates the connections that exist between child abusers in widely scattered localities. New Orleans police, acting on a tip, last summer arrested Richard S. Halvorsen and Raymond T. Woodall on charges they had set up a Boy Scout troop for the purpose of sexually abusing children. Eventually 10 men were charged in the case with multiple counts of crimes against nature. New Orleans Detective Mason Spong said the investigation extended into 34 states.
Among those arrested were Richard C. Jacobs of Arlington, Mass., millionaire president of the Jet Spray Corp. and a former part-owner of the New England Patriots football team; Robert B. Mallers, a California millionaire; and Hugh Scott Mellor of Brighton, Mass., millionaire president of a real estate holding company. New Orleans police said Jacobs has forfeited a $50,000 bond to avoid standing trial in Louisiana. They said Halvorsen and Woodall went to New Orleans from Coral Gables, Fla., where they had worked as maintenance men for the Adelphi Academies, identified by Florida police as a former male prostitution front that was recently sold to legitimate operators.
In 1974, Halvorsen and Woodall organized Boy Scout Troop 137 with about 40 boys as members. From that group they selected about 10 to go on Scout trips. Police said sex acts between the men and boys occurred during these trips, and in the process one boy suffered injuries that resulted in his being hospitalized. Halvorsen and Richard A. Pass, one of the 19 men charged in the case, also recruited boys for sex by working with community volunteer agencies dealing with runaways or boys from broken homes, police said. They said the two men gave the boys guitars and motorcycles as an inducement. New Orleans District Att. Harry Connick said the Scout leaders also drew up applications for state and federal money to establish and operate homes for boys, but had not carried through with these plans.
Peter Bradford, formerly a co-owner of the Adelphi Academies, is among the 10 men charged in New Orleans. Sgt. Tony Raimondo of the Coral Gables police said evidence shows that Halvorsen went to a number of mothers in New Orleans and recruited six boys for the Adelphi Academies. He told the women he could get free scholarships for their sons to a Coral Gables school that would provide better education than they were getting. New Orleans police said Bradford then flew to New Orleans and had sex with one of the boys and met the parents. Bradford flew back to Coral Gables and the six New Orleans boys subsequently enrolled at the academy. Bradford is charged with two counts of aggravated crimes against nature in New Orleans but has forfeited bond and remained in Florida, where no charges have been filed against him.
As an indication of the close links that exist among child sex abusers, police said the address book of John Norman, now in the Illinois state prison at Pontiac, contained the name of Raymond Woodall. According to Chicago police, Norman operated a ring that sent boys around the country to serve a network of homosexual clients. Woodall and Halvorsen have both been convicted and are awaiting sentencing. A police search of Halvorsen's files turned up the name of Rev. Claudius Ira [Bud] Vermilye Jr., 47, who operated a home for wayward boys in Winchester, Tenn. Tennessee authorities were notified, and began an investigation. Vermilye was eventually arrested on charges that his Boys Farm, Inc., which had been partly financed with state and county funds, was a front for child pornography and sexual abuse. Vermilye is awaiting trial on 16 charges, including 3 counts of crimes against nature, 8 of aiding and abetting crimes against nature, 4 counts of contributing to the delinquency of minors, and one of using minors in the production of pornographic materials.
Tennessee Atty. Gen. J. William Pope said Vermilye, divorced and the father of five sons, showed obscene movies to the boys to arouse them sexually and gave them liquor to overcome their inhibitions. Then he encouraged them to engage in orgies, and filmed the orgies with a hidden camera. Pope said. He said some of the films was sold to "sponsors" to raise money and some of the sponsors came to the farm to have sex with the boys. Police seized a list of more than 270 "active sponsors" of the farm.
A Tribune investigation of the Tennessee case disclosed that a half-dozen Illinois men had bought films from the priest, including one who paid more than $4,000. The New Orleans and Tennessee cases turned up evidence of another homosexual network involving the Church of the New Revelation of Kearny, N.J., the Ocean Living Institute of New Jersey, Brother Paul's Children's Mission on North Fox Island, Mich., and the Educational Foundation for Youth of Illinois. Further information on these operations came with the arrest last July of Gerald Richards, a Port Huron, Mich., man subsequently convicted of having had sex with a 10-year-old boy. Richards told police all four of these organizations were fronts for homosexual activity involving boys and all were set up as tax dodges. He identified himself as the organizer of Brother Paul's Children's Mission.
The Church of the New Revelation, which police said placed advertisements in a homosexual publication in California, was granted tax-exempt status by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service as a charity. "There is no church," said Pete Bouldin, an investigator with the Tennessee attorney general's office. "It's just a referral agency which distributes pornography around the country." Police said leaders of the organizations drew up plans to obtain federal, state and county funds for child care homes they planned to establish for homosexual and pornographic purposes. A letter to Richards from Dyer Grossman, a New York teacher and officer of the four organizations, said counties would pay up to $150 per month per boy, states would pay up to $400, and federal agencies up to $700.
Grossman, a member of a wealthy Long Island family, is sought by the FBI on charges of sex conduct with 10- and 14-year-old boys in Michigan. Francis D. Shelden, 48, an Ann Arbor, Mich, millionaire sought on sex charges with boys 8 and 11 years old, owns North Fox Island where Brother Paul's Children's Mission operated. Police said pictures that later turned up in pornographic magazines were taken on the island. Shelden's name also appears among "sponsors" of the Boys Farm in Tennessee."
- Boys for Sale (1981) documentary (several different versions: uploaded 2014/05/07; uploaded 2017/07/01)
- The Clown and the Candyman, "Episode 4: “Scouts Honor” – how the pedo mob infiltrated the Boy Scouts", 2020/12/29
Contemporaneous news stories
- Indianapolis Star, "Scoutmaster, Aide, 3d Man Arrested As Sex Deviants", 1976/09/11: "A Boy Scout scoutmaster, his assistant and a roommate were arrested yesterday on charges ranging from the homosexual rape of an 11-year-old to crimes against nature and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Police said the alleged activities may have involved as many as 30 boys. "We don't know for sure how many people are involved or whether it is centered in the scout troop," said a police spokesman. "It is thought 20 to 30 boys are involved." ARREST warrants were issued for three other men, including another assistant scoutmaster, and said they uncovered magazines, printed forms and letters mailed from across the nation seeking young boys for sexual favors, covered magazines, printed forms and letters mailed from across the nation seeking young boys for sexual favors. [...] BONAGURA identified the arrested men as Richard S. Halvorsen, 41; Roy T. Woodall, 37, and Lloyd R. Schwegmann, 18, all of New Orleans. Halvorsen, identified as head scoutmaster of Troop 137, was charged with two counts of aggravated crime against nature, obscenity and indecent behavior with a juvenile. Woodall, identified as an assistant scoutmaster, was accused of the aggravated homosexual rape of an 11-year-old, indecent behavior with a juvenile, contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile and aggravated crime against nature. SCHWEGMANN, who police said was living with Halvorsen, was accused of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile. Investigators identified the men being sought as Harry O. Cramer, an assistant scoutmaster, and Richard A. Pass and Robert Lang, all of New Orleans."
- The Town Talk (Alexandria LA), "New Orleans Homosexual Ring May Have Foreign Connections", 1977/04/11: "An investigation that started when a commercial film developer reported a customer had brought in photographs of men-boy sex, has led police to believe a homosexual ring based here has established connections as far away as Saudi Arabia. So far, 17 men have been charged as the result of an investigation that began with a New Orleans Boy Scout troop whose leaders reportedly supplied victims for the homosexual ring. One of the men arrested is Troop 137 scout leader Richard Halvorsen. He stands charged on 16 counts of aggravated crime against nature. Also charged is Boston millionaire Richard C. Jacobs. "It has been like dropping a pebble into water," said Dist. Atty. Harry Connick. "You think you've got it ail but the ripple ring keeps spreading." The men were charged with sex acts with boys from 8 to 15 years old over a two-year period" ending last September. Not all of the scouts in the how defunct troop were involved. "We find some of the men have also been active in other parts of the country," Connick added. "Some have been prosecuted in England and the Philippines for sex involving children." The first of the series of trials was scheduled in Criminal District Court Tuesday but a lawyer for Raymond T. Woodall, 38, of New Orleans, asked for a delay. He said Woodall had been committed to a state mental hospital due to severe depression and suicidal tendencies. Woodall, assistant scout master of Troop 137, was charged with 13 counts of "unnatural carnal knowledge." The most numerous charges were filed against Jacobs, a millionaire who lived at Arlington, a Boston suburb, and against scout master Halvorsen. Jacobs, whose trial is scheduled May 10, is facing 15 counts of "aggravated crime against nature," which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years per count. Connick declined to spell out how the investigation led to Jacobs, or how five other men from distant sections of the nation allegedly turned up in New Orleans to join the proceedings. "Obviously there was some kind of communications or network involved," he said."
- Tallahassee Democrat, "Sexual assault suspect arrested while on bond", 1977/04/19: "New Orleans District Atty. Harry Connick said late Monday that Larry Joe Phillips, 37, a former Madison County Memorial Hospital technician, and Peter Bradford, also known as Peter Mueller, 40, of Coral Gables, have been charged with homosexual crimes involving a dozen Louisiana boys ranging in ages from 9-14 years. [...] The Coral Gables man had been arrested earlier this month but failed to show up for hearings last week after posting bond, Connick said."
- The Town Talk (Alexandria LA), "Homosexual Ring Co-Founder Says Several Politicians Were Customers", 1979/11/26: "Several congressmen and other politicians used a homosexual "tour guide service" that employed boys as escorts and prostitutes, the Times-Picayune reports. The newspaper reported Sunday that the tour guide service operated unchecked until 1976, when the tour's organizers were arrested on charges in connection with a Boy Scout sex scandal in eastern New Orleans. Ray Thomas Woodall, a former scoutmaster who is serving a 75-year prison sentence for his role in the sex scandal, told the newspaper that several politicians used the tour service when they visited the city. Woodall said he and Robert E. Lang, a committee member of the Scout troop, formed the service in 1973 or 1974. Lang pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge in the sex case in 1976 and received a suspended sentence. "There were some congressmen, there was a senator involved," Woodall said in a letter obtained by the newspaper. "Almost the entire hierarchy of one of the states as far as the top political posts (was involved)." The newspaper said its sources indicated the politicians were not from Louisiana. Sources in the New Orleans police department said the district attorney's office was aware of the tour guide service, which was used to escort persons to gay bars and gathering places and even provide them with sex. But a detective said the service was not investigated in 1977 because many of the defendants in the Boy Scout sex case were convicted of other crimes. "There was no cover-up or anything like that," the detective said. "We weren't able to develop the evidence to pursue it." Woodall said most of the "guides" were adult gays, and not boys. [...] But Lewis S. Sialle, a former friend of Woodall's who was a state witness in the Boy Scout sex case, said the service moved from using adults to employing boys."
Fugitives from justice
- Robert Lang
- TODO: find leads
- Richard Jacobs
- UPI, "Missing millionaire ruled to be alive", 1988/07/14: "A multimillionaire who disappeared in 1977 one day before he was to stand trial on sexual assault charges is legally considered still alive because no body has been found, the state Supreme Judicial Court has ruled. 'I'm in a state of shock,' Leonard Jacobs, brother of the missing Richard C. Jacobs of Brookline, said following Wednesday's ruling, which was based on grounds that Jacobs had a reason to flee and that there is no evidence he died. [...] Jacobs, a manufacturing company executive and heir to the Jet Spray soda fountain fortune, disappeared on the eve of his trial in New Orleans on charges he had sex with two young boys."
- Middlesex County Superior Court, LEONARD J. JACOBS & another, receivers, & another vs. TOWN CLERK OF ARLINGTON; THE GUARDIAN LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY OF AMERICA, intervener, decision, 1988/07/13: "[...] the judge found facts controverting the receivers' assertion that Jacobs was dead, and consistent with its position that Jacobs was still living and had absconded. These findings showed that Jacobs had the motive, propensity, and means to flee justice. As to motive, the judge found that Jacobs was facing serious criminal charges in Louisiana, and faced a severe prison sentence if convicted; that Louisiana prosecutors had photographs of Jacobs in flagrante delicto, having sex with young boys, and that some of these boys had positively identified Jacobs as having had sex with them; and that Jacobs was aware that the Louisiana prosecutors had refused to plea bargain with him as to the pending charges, and that two codefendants in the indictments had already been convicted and sentenced to terms of imprisonment of forty-five and seventy-five years, respectively. As to propensity, the judge found that Jacobs previously had been arrested on a similar charge in England, and had fled that jurisdiction to avoid prosecution. As to means, the judge found that "Jacobs had the financial ability to prepare a flight from justice," including, among other assets, a Swiss bank account."