More Scouts allege sex abuse by a Burnsville scoutmaster

  • Article by: JOY POWELL , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 31, 2009 - 9:09 AM

That brings to seven the number claiming abuse. So far, no victims have been found in the suspect's contacts with other kids.

The number of Boy Scouts allegedly molested by a former Burnsville scoutmaster has now risen to seven, police said Thursday.

Last week, Peter R. Stibal II was charged with six felony counts, accused of sexually abusing three Scouts or former Scouts when they were between the ages of 11 and 15.

Burnsville Police Detective Jeff Pfaff said Thursday that an investigation has found four more boys who say they also were juvenile victims of sex crimes committed by Stibal between 2002 and 2008. All of the alleged victims are Scouts or former Scouts with Troop 650 of Burnsville, Pfaff said.

Police will forward the latest results of their investigation to the Dakota County attorney's office for consideration along with the charges filed last week, Pfaff said.

Police are still fielding calls and said there could be more victims.

Stibal, 44, had been assistant scoutmaster and scoutmaster of the troop from 2003 until his removal about two weeks ago, when Scout leaders were notified of his arrest.

Stibal also worked as a substitute bus driver for special-needs kids transported by First Student, a bus company serving the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District. So far, no victims have been identified from among those children, Pfaff said.

Stibal also volunteered for Catholic youth activities at Mary, Mother of the Church, in Burnsville. So far, no victims have been found linked to those church activities.

The incidents with the seven alleged victims occurred at scouting camps and outside of scouting activities, authorities said. The first three victims to come forward reported being sexually touched by Stibal at a drive-in theater in Cottage Grove, at a movie theater in Eagan, at Stibal's Burnsville home and at his Stearns County cabin as well as at Boy Scout camps.

Kent York, a spokesman for the Northern Star Council, the regional umbrella organization for Scout troops, said he is dismayed about the latest developments. He has been in touch with Burnsville police and the county attorney's office, he said.

"We're staying close to what's going on in the situation," York said.

"Scouts who report inappropriate behavior are doing the right thing," he said. "We teach them to always do that, as soon as they can, and that they have done nothing wrong when an adult does the wrong thing."

The council is offering counseling to any current or former Scouts or their families, if they want help with the troubling situation, he said.

Stibal remains in the Dakota County jail in lieu of $1 million bail.

On Saturday, the Northern Star Council held a previously scheduled training session attended by 725 scouting leaders, York said. Youth protection training was already on the agenda before the Stibal arrest, he said, and those sessions -- offered every hour -- were heavily attended. The Northern Star Council cited the Burnsville case to reinforce that policies must be followed to prevent Scouts from falling victim, York said.

In the Burnsville troop, some of the parents had expressed concerns among themselves that Stibal was breaking a rule that prohibits scoutmasters from being alone with Scouts. Saturday, officials with the Northern Star Council emphasized that any such concerns should be taken up the ladder to the council for possible action, York said.

Joy Powell • 952-882-9017

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