Former Boy Scouts push for new Ohio law as they seek relief for child sex abuse

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David DeLapa first connected with his teacher and Boy Scout master over World War II memorabilia. The teacher brought different items into the classroom for show and tell, catching the attention of a young boy who played Army games and watched television shows about war. DeLapa would go up to his teacher’s desk and ask to look at the hats and swords.

Before long, their interactions lost any innocence. DeLapa said his teacher would hold him after class and spank him with a paddle for doing something wrong − or simply for his own amusement. Paddling turned into fondling. The abuse extended beyond the school day and into events for an Akron-area Boy Scout troop led by the teacher. At camp, DeLapa said, his teacher and scoutmaster raped him.

The troop leader pleaded guilty in 1979 to molesting another 10-year-old. When DeLapa’s mom called to discuss a newspaper article about the case, he sensed she knew something, but couldn’t bring himself to say it. He instead feigned shock, telling her how kind the man was to him in school. After the phone call, DeLapa hopped in his Ford Pinto and drove into the Nevada desert until he reached the base of a mountain. He climbed it with every intention of jumping to his death. But as he watched the sun set, he heard God’s voice telling him to turn around and go home.

So he did. “When you’re held captive for two years … you lose a lot of emotions,” said DeLapa, of Tallmadge. “You get mad at life. You hate life. You think about killing yourself. There’s such darkness, and you withdraw. You don’t do the things you used to do.”