Boy Scout Leader Charged with Sexual Abuse

[anvplayer video=”5180956″ station=”998128″]

(ABC 6 News) – A 73-year-old man was arrested in Cresco, IA Wednesday for the sexual abuse of multiple minors.

Law enforcement is commending the alleged victims that came forward for their bravery.

The small town of Cresco was filled with shock and disappointment after hearing about the alleged abuse in their community.

“You know it’s really devastating to hear,” Brittney Bluhm, Cresco resident and mother said. “Because you do want your children to be involved in the community, but it’s really hard in this day and age.”

James Hughes, was arrested last week in what the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation called a “historical sex abuse investigation.”

“Not only do we conduct an investigation like this but we want to make sure that any victim has the resources available to them to help them through this process and moving forward in life.” Mitch Mortvedt, Assistant Director, Iowa DCI said.

According to the criminal complaint, police believe the alleged abuse had been going on for a decade from 2008 to 2018.

Court documents say that Hughes would make teenage boys take off their clothes under the guise of tracking body measurements for the scout’s personal fitness merit badge. Further, it says Hughes would watch them undress and grope them.

The Winnebago Council of the Boy Scouts of America is calling Hughes’s allegations “disturbing and opposed to everything for which the Boy Scouts of America stands. His membership was immediately revoked and he’s no longer permitted to participate in the Boy Scouts of America in any capacity.”

The Iowa IDC is commending the victims for coming forward.

“The better takeaway or hope is that there is justice for those victims and their families,” Mortvedt said. “And we certainly hope that any time you can bring charges against somebody and eventually, hopefully down the line convict them that our communities are safer.”

Now the Cresco community is keeping a closer eye on their kids.

Iowa IDC encourages anyone that may have heard or seen anything or may be a victim themselves to reach out to the Cresco Police Department.