By Betty Adams firstname.lastname@example.org
AUGUSTA — Alfred J. Conrad used his position as assistant Scoutmaster with Troop 647 of Hallowell to befriend and then sexually abuse a 12-year-old Scout over a period of months in 1977.
That’s according to previously confidential court documents that were unsealed in response to a Kennebec Journal records request. Conrad was among eight Scout leaders in Maine identified in October among thousands of newly disclosed files that documented allegations of sexual abuse by Scout volunteers nationwide. Conrad, in an interview Thursday night, said his actions continue to haunt him today, almost 30 years after he was sentenced for gross sexual misconduct and unlawful sexual contact. “I regretted what happened, and I kept away from youths after that,” Conrad, now 67, said in a phone conversation from his home in Lawrence, Mass. “I keep to myself most of the time. I’ve tried to be an upstanding person.” Conrad would not comment further. In response to the Kennebec’s Journal’s request, Justice Michaela Murphy unsealed the pre-sentence investigation in the case of State v. Alfred J. Conrad. Conrad, a former Augusta man, is a convicted sex offender who was barred by the Pine Tree Council of Boy Scouts in 1984 from ever being involved in Scouts again. None of the previously sealed Maine court documents said anything about Conrad’s Boy Scout connection, even though he was identified in the national document release. The newly unsealed Boy Scout records confirm that Conrad met the boy through Scouts, and the sexual abuse began shortly afterward. Charges were brought when the boy came forward five years later. Court records show Conrad pleaded guilty to gross sexual misconduct and unlawful sexual contact that occurred in May and June 1977 in Manchester. He was sentenced on April 23, 1983, to one year at the Maine State Prison in Thomaston. The effects of the sexual abuse on the boy were severe, according to a pre-sentencing report prepared by a probation and parole officer at the time. The boy withdrew from outside activities, lost interest in school, began drinking alcohol to excess, attempted suicide three times and eventually was hospitalized for psychological and social evaluation before beginning therapy. That information is in the confidential records recently unsealed by court order. Records show Conrad confessed almost immediately when he was confronted by investigators. He went into therapy as well, sent there by his attorney once the charges were filed. The treating psychiatrist, Ibrahim Bahrawy, provided a medical report as part of the pre-sentence investigation. “I find him to be regretting his past experience of sexual indiscretion and willing to change his lifestyle,” Bahrawy wrote. “He expressed sincere desire to work out and work through his sexual conflicts in psychotherapy sessions.” To get Conrad’s case files unsealed, attorney Adria Y. LaRose of the Bangor-based law firm Eaton Peabody filed motions in Kennebec County Superior Court on behalf of the Kennebec Journal. That process revealed that Conrad lives in Lawrence, Mass., at the home where his parents resided in 1982. A notice about the newspaper’s effort to have the record unsealed was sent via certified mail to that address, but Conrad did not file an objection or any response with the court. Murphy ordered a version of the report released that did not contain the victim’s name; however, previously public court records do list it. The Kennebec Journal’s policy is not to publish the names of victims of sex crimes. A painful experience The reports shows the boy reported the abuse in December 1982 to his high school guidance counselor, who in turn contacted Maine State Police. One of the documents shows that Conrad’s then-attorneys, Michael G. Messerschmidt and Thomas H. Collins, requested a hearing to keep an “alleged confession” to investigators on Dec. 15, 1982, from being used at a trial.
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