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Former Boy Scout troop leader indicted on public indecency charge

Last week, Boy Scouts of America parted ways with troop leader Joseph Rice after a grand jury indicted him on a felony public indecency charge.

Police said a mother and daughter spotted the former postal worker performing a sex act in his mail truck in December of 2017. As a result of the incident, Rice lost his job with the post office,

NBC 4 Investigator Tom Sussi did some digging. What Sussi discovered is a disturbing pattern of this sort of behavior going back more than two decades.

In 1997, a jury found Rice guilty of voyeurism. The complaint filed with the Columbus Division of Police is hard to read.

It states Rice looked under a stall in a men’s public bathroom.

That Rice made suggestive noises,  licked and wagged his tongue.

“For the purpose of sexually gratifying himself,” according to the complaint.

Then, there’s two incidents that occurred at Alum Creek State Park in Delaware County. In 2002 and 2006, Rice pleaded no-contest to public indecency.

Sussi reached out to BSA’s Simon Kenton Council here in Columbus. He asked the spokesperson if the organization is aware of those prior incidents, and whether BSA regularly does background checks on its scout leaders.

Here’s part of the response Sussi received. “We do background checks on our leaders as part of their application process. This individual’s behavior is disturbing and runs counter to everything for which the Boy Scouts of America stands.”

Sussi offered the married father a chance to sit down and tell his side of the story, but to date, Rice hasn’t responded.

Andrea Jolley, who said she has known Rice more than 15 years, did sit down with Sussi. "I don't know who Joe has hurt with these actions other than himself, his family and his poor wife, and the people who love him like myself,” said Jolley.

The Westerville mother said her son was also in Rice’s troop, adding “Even now, I would trust my son with Joe. Without a doubt.”

On the flip side, she said if BSA isn’t doing regular background checks of its scout leaders, they should be. “Absolutely,” said Jolley. “Absolutely.”

If convicted of the fifth-degree public indecency charge, Rice faces up to a year in prison.

 


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